Quick Hits From Last Week’s House Transpo Committee Hearing
Last week the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held its first hearing on the draft stimulus bill. In a welcome development, several committee members called for restoring funds for transit and rail — including transit operations.
Carole Brown of the Chicago Transit Authority urged the committee to authorize funds directly to transit agencies instead of through state bureaucracies. Her testimony was well received by Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio, who argued for inserting transit operating funds back into the bill. "At the insistence of some people who are not enlightened, the operating assistance has been stripped out of the package," he told Brown. (We’ll have more on DeFazio’s efforts to correct this soon.) Head over to Yonah Freemark’s Transport Politic for a detailed recap, or watch the whole thing online.
In an unfortunate subplot, Portland Mayor Sam Adams was expected to testify but did not attend. Elected in the fall on a platform that promised to build on Portland’s impressive gains for bicycling, Adams is now fighting for his political life after reports surfaced that he lied about a sexual relationship with a younger man. Bike Portland reports that Adams, buoyed in part by a strong show of support from the cyclist community, has decided not to resign from his office. The timing of the media firestorm, however, prevented Adams from delivering testimony that likely would have favored bicycle infrastructure and direct stimulus aid to cities.