Urgent Action: Billions for Transit in Jeopardy

A Senate amendment full of spending cuts would strip $3.4 billion in transit funding from the stimulus package, Greg Sargent reports. One of the few areas that might get a spending increase in the amendment is highways. The amendment, sponsored by Republican Susan Collins and Democrat Ben Nelson, is seen as a bipartisan compromise that will likely clear the way for the whole bill to pass. There is time to prevent the amendment from including these steep cuts in transit funding, which would drop the total for transit almost in half.

Readers should call your senators and make clear that it is unacceptable for any amendment to raid public transit and increase highway spending. The number for the Senate switchboard is (202) 224-3121, or you can look up your senator here.

Update: Head over to the Transportation for America action alert for concise talking points. We hear the Senate is getting bombarded with calls, so dial a few times if you don’t get through immediately. If you’re still getting a busy signal, you can also follow this link and use the email forms to contact your senators.

  • A talking point–for use only if it’s true, of course; I just don’t know if it is:

    don’t transit systems usually employ more people for more time than highway building/highway fixing projects?

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    Fixing roads and bridges is more labor intensive than building new roads and bridges.

    By my world view yes dartley. Here is a link to that effect from “Good Jobs First” a pro union (self interest alert!) advocacy group. http://www.goodjobsfirst.org/pdf/backintown.pdf

    Finally they’ve published two national studies on the relationship between transit and economic development incentives:

    the states are clueless; none of their 1,500+ econ development programs promote job access via transit:
    http://www.goodjobsfirst.org/pdf/bus.pdf

    by contrast, some *cities* get it and are using incentives to connect good jobs and affordable housing
    http://www.goodjobsfirst.org/pdf/makingtheconnection.pdf

  • I would assume so. One of the really notable differences between Hong Kong (where I live) and NYC (where I used to live, and will shortly live again) is the number of people employed to keep the stations clean. And if you’ve been to HK, the difference couldn’t be more stark. Obviously labor is much cheaper in HK but in this climate you’d think this would be a welcome political argument to make.

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