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Federal Transportation Bill

79 New York City Execs Tell House to Kill Anti-Transit Bill

New York City companies know their employees depend on transit to get to work. At rush hour, Grand Central is packed with transit riders. Photo: Lonely Planet.

The hits keep coming against the Republican House of Representatives' radical transportation bill, especially its unprecedented attack on dedicated transit funding. In New York, the region's Congress member -- of both parties -- and editorial boards have now been joined by that most traditional GOP constituency: big business.

In a letter sent to the House leadership today, 79 New York City business leaders called on Congress to start over on the transportation legislation, especially the anti-transit provisions. "If the terms of H.R. 7 were adopted by Congress, it would significantly damage the economies of many of our nation’s most important commercial centers," they wrote. They point to not only the elimination of gas tax revenue for transit, but also a smaller clause that would make it harder for New York City's system to get funding for bus projects.

Many of these business leaders represent global corporations that depend on New York City's transit system to get their employees to work in midtown or downtown Manhattan. During rush hour, 80 percent of all commuters headed into Manhattan's central business district take transit. On the letter are CEOs from firms like Citigroup, Viacom, American Express, Jet Blue, McGraw-Hill, Aetna and Loews.

The full letter, with its signatories, is below:

February 13, 2012

The Honorable John BoehnerSpeakerU.S. House of RepresentativesH-232, The CapitolWashington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Nancy PelosiHouse Minority LeaderU.S. House of RepresentativesH-204, The CapitolWashington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Eric CantorMajority LeaderU.S. House of RepresentativesH-329, The CapitolWashington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Steny HoyerHouse Minority WhipU.S. House of RepresentativesH-148, The CapitolWashington, D.C. 20515

Dear Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor, House Minority Leader Pelosi and Minority Whip Hoyer,

As major employers and job creators in America, we are writing to request your reconsideration of H.R. 7, a bill that fundamentally changes the terms of transportation funding for America’s metropolitan centers. If enacted, H.R. 7 would result in irreparable damage to the transportation infrastructure of New York and America’s other great cities. Its provisions reverse a cost-sharing formula for mass transit and urban infrastructure that was put in place during the administration of President Ronald Reagan – a formula that has served the nation well. For example, it would eliminate funding for New York’s bus system, which is critical to an integrated regional subway and rail network.

We request that the House take H.R. 7 back to committee and replace it with a bill that would keep transit funding in the Highway Trust Fund at current funding levels. If the terms of H.R. 7 were adopted by Congress, it would significantly damage the economies of many of our nation’s most important commercial centers.

Thank you for your consideration.

Kenneth I. Chenault, Chairman & CEO, American Express CompanyCo-Chair, Partnership for New York City

Terry J. Lundgren, Chairman, President & CEO, Macy's, Inc.Co-Chair, Partnership for New York City

Lee S. Ainslie, III, Managing Partner, Maverick CapitalDonald R. Allman, President & CEO, TitanDavid Barger, President & CEO, JetBlue Airways CorporationCandace K. Beinecke, Chair, Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLPFrank A. Bennack, Jr., Vice Chairman & CEO, Hearst CorporationStephen Berger, Chairman, Odyssey Investment Partners, LLCMark T. Bertolini, Chairman, CEO & President, Aetna Inc.William H. Berkman, Managing Partner, Associated Partners, LPKathy Bloomgarden, Chief Executive Officer, Ruder Finn, Inc.Marianne C. Brown, President & CEO, Omgeo, LLCKevin Burke, Chairman, President & CEO, Con EdisonRussell L. Carson, Co-Founder and General Partner, Welsh, Carson, Anderson & StowePhilippe P. Dauman, President and CEO, Viacom Inc.Todd C. DeGarmo, Chief Executive Officer, STUDIOS ArchitectureBarry Diller, Chairman & Senior Executive, IACDaniel L. Doctoroff, President & CEO, Bloomberg L.P.Douglas Durst, Co-President, Durst Organization Inc.Joel S. Ehrenkranz, Senior Partner, Ehrenkranz & Ehrenkranz LLPWinston C. Fisher, Partner, Fisher BrothersAlan H. Fishman, Chairman, Ladder Capital Finance LLCRussell P. Fradin, Chief Executive Officer, SunGardPaul Fribourg, Chairman & CEO, Continental Grain CompanyCarl Galioto, Senior Principal, HOK, Inc.Barry M. Gosin, Chief Executive Officer, Newmark Knight FrankJonathan N. Grayer, President & CEO, Weld North LLCRobert Greifeld, Chief Executive Officer, The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.Steve Holliday, Chief Executive Officer, National GridStephen R. Howe, Jr., Americas Area Managing Partner, Ernst & Young LLPFrederick J. Iseman, Chairman & CEO, CI Capital Partners LLCKenneth M. Jacobs, Chairman & CEO, Lazard LtdJill Kaplan, Publisher, Crain's New York BusinessBrad S. Karp, Chair, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLPGeorge S. Kaufman, Chairman, Kaufman OrganizationAnthony S. Kendall, Chief Executive Officer, Mitchell & Titus, LLPDavid P. Kirchhoff, President & CEO, Weight Watchers International, Inc.Henry R. Kravis, Co-Chairman & Co-CEO, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.William P. Lauder, Executive Chairman, The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc.Rochelle B. Lazarus, Chairman, Ogilvy & Mather WorldwideMartin Lipton, Senior Partner, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & KatzPeter L. Malkin, Senior Partner & Chairman, Malkin Holdings, LLCDonald B. Marron, Chairman & CEO, Lightyear CapitalPeter W. May, President & COO, Trian PartnersCharles R. McCall, CEO, Astoria Energy II LLC &, Astoria Energy LLCHarold McGraw, III, Chairman, President & CEO, The McGraw-Hill CompaniesEdward J. Minskoff, President, Edward J. Minskoff Equities, Inc.Mitchell Modell, Chief Executive Officer, Modell's Sporting GoodsKenneth D. Moelis, Chief Executive Officer, Moelis & Company Holdings LPThomas J. Moran, Chairman, President & CEO, Mutual of America Life Insurance CompanyJoshua L. Muss, President, Muss Development CompanyDuncan L. Niederauer, Chief Executive Officer, NYSE EuronextVikram S. Pandit, Chief Executive Officer, Citigroup Inc.Peter Riguardi, President, New York Region, Jones Lang LaSalleJames D. Robinson, III, Co-Founder & General Partner, RRE VenturesStephen M. Ross, Chairman & CEO, The Related Companies, L.P.Wilbur L. Ross, Jr., Chairman & CEO, WL Ross & Co. LLCMichael I. Roth, Chairman & CEO, Interpublic GroupSteven Roth, Chairman, Vornado Realty TrustHoward J. Rubenstein, President, Rubenstein Associates, Inc.Steven Rubenstein, President, Rubenstein Communications, Inc.Mitchell E. Rudin, President & CEO, U.S. Commercial Operations, Brookfield PropertiesCorporationWilliam C. Rudin, CEO and Vice Chairman, Rudin Management Company, Inc.Kevin P. Ryan, Founder and CEO, Gilt GroupeAlan D. Schwartz, Executive Chairman, Guggenheim Partners, LLCFrank J. Sciame, Chairman & CEO, F.J. Sciame Construction Co., Inc.Jerry I. Speyer, Chairman & Co-CEO, Tishman SpeyerStuart Match Suna, President, Silvercup StudiosMary Ann Tighe, Chief Executive Officer, NY Tri-State Region, CB Richard EllisJames S. Tisch, President & CEO, Loews CorporationEdward D. Turen, Chairman and CEO, Control Equity GroupMark L. Wagar, President & CEO, Empire Blue Cross Blue ShieldRohan Weerasinghe, Senior Partner, Shearman & SterlingCharles Weinstein, Chief Executive Officer, EisnerAmper LLPMarcia S. Wilson, President, Daffy'sDeborah C. Wright, Chairman & CEO, Carver Bancorp Inc.Kathryn S. Wylde, President & CEO, Partnership for New York CityStrauss Zelnick, Chief Executive Officer, ZelnickMedia CorporationMortimer B. Zuckerman, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of US News & World Report andChairman & Publisher of the New York Daily News

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