Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Economics

$36,000,000,000 for Corn. $0 for Transit.

1:58 PM EDT on July 25, 2008

2468200488_fb2da5e5c7.jpgThe House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would provide emergency funding to local transit systems facing simultaneous increases in ridership and fuel costs. The legislation is now stalled in the Senate and the Bush Administration has expressed concern that "transit operators risk becoming permanently reliant upon this type of assistance." Meanwhile, when it comes to subsidizing Midwestern farmers, ethanol producers, and the operating costs of America's fleet of private motor vehicles... well, here's how Michael Daly of the Daily News summed it up in his column yesterday:

New York City has long sent the feds billions more in taxes each year than we get back in services. To give you an idea of one place the money goes, here is what thefeds gave corn farmers to tend their fields in a two-year period: $36billion.

Here is what we got to run the subway: 0

The feds have been reasonable when it comes to helping out with bigprojects like the new subway and train tunnels that never get done.But, we get not a penny toward the day-to-day cost of transporting 4million straphangers.

I interviewed Larry Hanley a couple of weeks ago. He's the former Staten Island bus driver (famous for getting up in Rudy Giuliani's grill, among other things) who now serves as a Vice President of the Amalgamated Transit Union. Negotiating contracts across the Northeast, Hanley is seeing smaller transit systems in places like Lancaster, PA and Albany, NY struggling with increasing operating costs at a time when they are also experiencing record increases in ridership.

With New Yorkers facing a pair of fare hikes and a deteriorating transit system, Hanley is arguing that federal funding in mass transit is an investment in local economies, green jobs, the environment and national defense. "We've got a Saudi Arabia's worth of energy savings beneath the streets of New York City," Hanley said. "It's called the subway."

Photo: Crowded bus in Champaign-Urbana by Benchilada on Flickr.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Tuesday’s Headlines: The Polk’s on Us Edition

Our investigative reporter Jesse Coburn won a Polk Award for his three-part, seven-month "Ghost Tags" investigation. Plus other news.

February 20, 2024

Komanoff: What Was Left Unsaid to Congestion Pricing Opponents

Politicians can be diplomatic, but subject matter experts have a responsibility to say the quiet part out loud. Charles Komanoff learned that last Thursday at the latest congestion pricing gripefest.

February 20, 2024

Henry Hudson Bridge Will Get a Real Bike Lane By 2025

The path will close for construction this fall.

February 20, 2024

Streetsblog Wins Polk Award for ‘Ghost Tags’ Series

Reporter Jesse Coburn received the prestigious award for exposing a vast black market for temporary license plates that reckless drivers use to avoid accountability on the road.

February 19, 2024

Monday’s Headlines: Presidents’ Day Edition

We're off today, but we'll give you something to chew on.

February 19, 2024
See all posts