Thursday, February 16, 2012

Federal Funding of Public Transit Takes Potential Turn for the Worse

The debate in Washington over federal funding for surface transportation programs is heating up, so I thought I would update you with regard to where everyone stands.

The House Republican proposal to fund surface transportation programs for five years was approved three weeks ago by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The full House is expected to consider the American and Energy Infrastructure Jobs Act later this month.

Sponsors describe the measure as “the largest transportation reform bill since the Interstate Highway System was created in 1956.” The bill aims to eliminate earmarks and to stabilize the Highway Trust Fund, sponsors say.

Read the Republican's position on the bill.

However, this proposal threatens funding for the nation’s transit systems, according to the American Public Transportation Association. A headline from an APTA release reads, “House Plan Puts Public Transit Projects in Jeopardy – Nearly 50 Percent of Revenue Currently Dedicated to Public Transit To Be Diverted.”

The "American Conservative Center for Public Transportation" joined the APTA in a joint statement today lamenting the potential undoing of 30 years of bipartisan support for public transit.

Finally, this past week the president released his own budget, which is "loaded with transportation funding." Actually, the president's proposal would improve the current 80-20 ratio of highway to transit funding to 75-25, with the Livable Communities program receiving $27 billion over six years.

Read about the President's transportation budget here.

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