House Transportation Eliminates Guaranteed Mass Transit Funding; Puts Transit Capital Projects at Risk.
After two years and eight extensions the House moved forward with a reauthorized federal transportation bill. While there are some positive provisions in the House bill such as process streamlining, program consolidation and positive train control mandate relief, the bill would gut mass transit funding by removing the mass transit account from the highway trust fund and by requiring the program to also fund other programs.
While the House Leadership attempted to explain this as positive for mass transit, the reality is this is nothing more than eviscerating federal capital funding for transit that would particularly hit hard transit dependent states like New York. With this move $1.5 billion in capital funds for the MTA and transit systems around New York would be jeopardized.
If the House Leadership is convinced that finding $40 billion from the general fund to pay for the newly titled alternative transportation program is so easily attainable then they should simply use those funds to increase the entire federal transportation program – both highways and transit.
The GCA has been actively reaching out to the Republicans from New York to let them know how much this would hurt the economy, mobility and quality of life for constituents in their districts. You should do the same. The MTA capital program, which is dependent on federal transportation dollars, not only provides basic mobility for the metropolitan region, it supports manufacturing facilities that provide critically need jobs throughout New York.
It is unfortunate that the good policy changes in the House Transportation bill are overshadowed by this shortsighted and harmful provision.