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House transportation bill is a missed opportunity

Washington DC — Following the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee markup of their Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act (STRR) Act, Transportation for America director James Corless offered this statement:

“We thank Chairmen Shuster and Graves, and Ranking Members DeFazio and Holmes Norton for taking the lead in moving beyond the repeated short-term extensions of the nation’s transportation program. However, the House transportation bill falls far short of the transformational, reform-minded policy that our country needs at this time.

“First and foremost, the bill represents a major missed opportunity to give cities, towns and local communities of all sizes greater access and control over federal transportation dollars. We were disappointed to see a bipartisan amendment from Representatives Davis (R-IL) and Titus (D-NV) fail to be included in the final bill approved by the committee; an amendment that would have directed more funding to towns and cities of all sizes and increased transparency in how projects are selected.

“There are other flawed and troubling provisions in the House bill that must be addressed. It enshrines in law that local transit capital projects receive no more than 50 percent of their funding from federal sources, creating a large inequity with highway capital projects. The bill diminishes the ability of states and metropolitan areas to use their most flexible funds for certain transit projects altogether. While the bill includes a multimodal freight program, funds for non-highway projects are capped at 10 percent. And Representative Edwards (D-MD) was urged to withdraw her amendment to allow transit-oriented development projects to be eligible for receiving low-cost loans from the federal TIFIA financing program — a common sense proposal that would net more riders and in return revenue for the operating agencies.

“Most alarming, when the check comes due for the six years of this law, the House still has no way to pay the tab. As much as 30 percent of the bill’s cost will have to be covered by general fund tax dollars, which have already been tapped to keep the trust fund solvent to the tune of $73 billion.

“The bill does preserve funding for the popular Transportation Alternatives Program and public transportation in general, includes employers and representatives of low-income job related services in the planning process, and includes an important complete streets provision that ensures a more comprehensive approach to road design and safety for everyone.

“While we’re thankful that the House has finally moved beyond short-term extensions and toward the multi-year funding certainty needed by states and cities to see their ambitious plans come to life, this bill needs to do much more. We look forward to working to improve it as the House advances their reauthorization proposal and Congress seeks consensus on a multi-year transportation authorization bill.”

4 Comments

  1. Mbarry

    2 years ago

    Congress gave Port Authority of NY NJ its power but no one is watching this dysfunctional agency ???
    The Port Authority of receives federal funding grants for DOT 49 cfr part 40 for testing, training and grants for PANYNJ . The PA are not in compliance with DOT and FTA drug and alcohol testing (49 CFR Part 40 and part 655) is a continued receipt of federal funds under Sections 5307, 5309, or 5311 but still receive MILLIONS? Annual compliance is required! Education and training program for all covered employees, for supervisors/company officials. WHY does the PA not in compliance but still receive federal funding? WHY??? Wouldn’t the BILLIONS be better spent on GATEWAY TUNNELS or rail roads improvement. All federal agencies have turned a blind eye. Christie and Cuomo both said ” they have no control over the PA” unless it’s to place a childhood friend in a six figure job. The PA needs federal monitoring…… We have a court case involving DOT, lack of due process and PA, it’s an excellent read! The PA’ s federal funding should be taken away!! BILLIONS that can go towards MTA or NYNJ taxpayers???
    Thank you for your time,

    Mjmax227@hotmail.com

    Sent from my iPad

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  4. Cameron O'Leary

    2 years ago

    What is the total difference to public transportation funding roughly?