Today, Reps. Joe Crowley (NY-7), Charles Rangel (NY-15), Jerrold Nadler (NY-8), Carolyn Maloney (NY-14) along with MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota, Central Labor Council of New York City President Vincent Alvarez and representatives of the Transport Workers Union and the Straphangers rider group, spoke out against the House Republicans’ effort to cut federal support for public transit. PCAC staff members Associate Director Jan Wells, Senior Transportation Planner Ellyn Shannon, and Hunter Public Service Scholar Shanni Liang who is working for PCAC during the academic year, attended. Also present was Andrew Albert, Chair of the NYCTRC. PCAC was impressed with the speeches which very articulately pointed out the anti-transit portions of the proposed bill.
This House Republican federal transportation bill will strip away the dedicated funding stream for the Mass Transit Account, which allows states, municipalities and local transit agencies to plan and fund capital projects with the certainty needed to make job-creating infrastructure investments. In New York City, the Mass Transit Account funds key investments in the City’s subways, buses, commuter rails, and other forms of public transit. Slashing this funding stream will result in a loss of $1.7 billion for New York State and will adversely affect City and suburban commuters who rely on public transportation every day.
By way of background, in 1983, President Regan signed into law the Surface Transportation Assistance Act, which created a dedicated funding source for public transportation through the federal gas tax. This dedicated source of revenue allowed states, municipalities and local transit agencies to plan and fund capital projects with the certainty needed to make these infrastructure investments as efficient and cost-effective for taxpayers as possible. As congestion rose in urban areas, and rural areas saw their share of car-less, low-income families rise, the need to fund this account has grown. The Republican proposal to redirect federal gasoline tax revenues away from public transportation will worsen this funding shortage and subject transit funding to the annual approriations process, creating uncertainty for critical job-creating infrastructure projects. Click here for a quick video of the Chairman Joe Lhota’s words.