Transit operators struggling to keep pace with demand as rising fuel costs strain their budgets received some welcome news on Friday. New York’s junior senator has introduced a version of the Saving Energy Through Public Transportation Act. The bill, which would provide $1.7 billion for local transit agencies over the next two years (including $237 million for New York City), passed the House in June but lacked a Senate sponsor until now.
If the bill makes it through the Senate, the Oval Office figures to be a major hurdle. President Bush has signaled his reluctance to subsidize operating costs for transit, although that philosophy seems not to apply when it comes to subsidizing the habits of America’s motorists.
Meanwhile, in places like Louisville and the Denver suburbs, the prospect of service cuts and fare hikes continues to loom at precisely the moment that more people are depending on transit to get around.