Next week, the U.S. House of Representatives will consider a bill that proposes dramatic and potentially damaging changes to public transit funding.
The New York Times called it “A Terrible Transportation Bill” and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, “it’s the worst transportation bill I’ve ever seen during 35 years of public service.”
The proposed bill calls for the elimination of dedicated funding from the Highway Trust Fund for public transit, replacing it with a one-time allocation that runs out completely in 2016. This proposal would eliminate a reliable, long-term financing mechanism for public transit that was first established under President Reagan in 1983 with the federal Highway Transportation Bill, SAFETEA-LU (this bill expires March 31, 2012).
This has disastrous implications for public transit planning and growth in the United States, including the St. Louis region. The proposed House bill will impair Metro’s ability to carry out major capital projects, including construction, vehicle purchasing, and maintenance. Also, the St. Louis region is currently exploring the introduction of new services into the transit system, and long-range federal partnership is a key component of helping the community realize this growth. Federal investment in public transit helps keep people in St. Louis connected to jobs, and federal dollars help us maintain and grow the region’s transit infrastructure.
Here is what you can do to help continue public transit growth in the St. Louis region. Contact these local representatives and let them know you are opposed to the elimination of a dedicated funding source for public transit, and you are opposed to an unstable future of transit growth:
Congressman William Lacy Clay
Congressman Todd Akin
Congressman Russ Carnahan
Congressman John Shimkus
Congressman Jerry Costello
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) also has setup an online form that allows you to send an email to your representative:
The full House of Representatives is expected to vote on this bill next week. Your calls and emails are needed immediately.
This proposed change in federal funding for public transit will have a profound negative impact on the growth of transit in the St. Louis region. Your voice could make the difference for the future of public transit in St. Louis and across the country.