Lawmakers Push for Federal Help With Transit Operating: Read the Letter

The House and Senate are racing to reach agreement on a $90 billion bill to keep the Iraq and Afghanistan wars funded, but the legislation also could mark a pivotal victory for transit.

Peter_DeFazio_2.jpgRep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR). Photo: UPI

The Senate version of the war bill contains a provision that would
allow transit agencies to use 10 percent of their money they get from
the economic stimulus law to pay operating costs. If the House agrees
to add that provision to the war bill, it would be a boon to
cash-strapped localities that are facing steep cuts in service thanks
to the economic downturn.

Rep. Pete DeFazio (D-OR), chairman
of the House transportation committee’s highways and transit panel, has
enlisted 26 colleagues for a letter to congressional leaders urging
that the Senate’s transit provision be kept in the final version of the
war legislation.

CQ reported on the letter on Friday, but we have a complete copy for your downloading pleasure right here. Has your local member of Congress signed on?

  • Well, if sneaking it into a war bill is what it takes to get Republicans to support transit, why not. None of our elected officials read any of those things anyway.

  • John

    I actually don’t think I agree with this one guys, although as an avid transit supporter, naturally I am not going to say no to the funds for strap-cashed transport authorities.
    My main issue with this is one that is raised often in the transit debate – particularly as of late. Whereas I do believe more funding should go to transit development and operations, I also want to underline what for me is a key definition of transit; that is, it is more sustainable. Shouldn’t it then be more fiscally sustainable?
    In short, my argument here is that the money is needed – for sure – but is a provision in the war spending bill going to fix the problem? The response is: only temporarily. Transit agencies in the future will continue to face this problem of sufficient funds if Congress and state and local authorities do not come up with a more sustainable long term fiscal solution.
    Since the present administration has made it clear it won’t raise fuel taxes during the recession, my addition to this article is the following:

    Call your Congressperson and tell them you want this measure included in the war spending legislation, but also tell them, transit is SO important to you and this country that you want to see a real, long-term financing solution to transit so that this doesn’t happen again and again…

  • John

    Sorry, cash-strapped :-p

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