House Bill Could End 30 Years of Dedicated Federal Funds for Mass Transit

ACTION ALERT! From Transit Riders for Public Transportation (TRPT)

MTC Hearing on EJ Principles 1-12-07 © 2007Jess Clarke, Audience Sign

Stop the assault on the public sector,
protect environmental justice and civil rights
in transportation funding.         


House Republican Committees voted last week to eviscerate transit in the federal transportation bill by eliminating the 20% share of dedicated funding for public transit and giving 100% of federal funds to roads and highways. This bill also targets our grassroots communities of color who make up the backbone of transit ridership across the country.

CALL your Congressional Representative and the Speaker of the House and tell them to vote NO on H.R. 7 (the American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act) Contact Your Congressional Representative:

Contact Speaker Boehner: Phone: (202) 225-0600 Fax: (202) 225-5117

Don’t Let Republicans Privatize Public Transit

House federal transportation bill would eliminate all dedicated federal transit funding and strip away vital environmental justice, jobs, and civil rights protections!

6 Reasons Why H.R. 7 Must Not Pass: 

•    Makes huge service cuts to mass transit, and increases fares nationwide.

•    Means less protection for Environmental Justice and Civil Rights!

•    Lets transit agencies off the hook from having to find alternatives to costly capital projects that often unfairly impact low income and communities

of color.
•    Expands offshore oil and gas drilling, opening a back door to projects such as the Keystone XL Pipeline.

•    Allows “air quality improvement” funds from the CMAQ program to be used for highway expansions.

•    Forces transit agencies to choose between receiving federal funds and privatizing public transit.

Contact Your Congressional Representative:

Contact Speaker Boehner: Phone: (202) 225-0600 Fax: (202) 225-5117

Additional Information

Reasons to vote no on H.R. 7 (the American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act) and maintain 30 years of dedicated federal commitment to supporting mass transit, creating jobs and protecting civil rights and environmental justice:
1. It would eliminate all dedicated federal funding for mass transit

The bill would eliminate the 2.86 cent portion of the 18 cent federal gasoline tax currently dedicated to mass transit and “replace it” with unidentified general fund revenue from the federal budget. The current dedicated federal funding formula of 80% for highways and 20% for transit would now be 100% for highways and roads! Transit operators would be forced to make historic cuts in service and institute massive fare increases as they cut operations costs to backfill billions in lost capital funds from the House bill.

2. It would eliminate environmental & transportation planning tools that protect EJ and Civil Rights!

In the name of “streamlining environmental project review,” the bill makes it easier to bypass many current environmental regulations (NEPA, Judicial Review, Categorical Exclusions ) that force project managers, planners, and engineers to quantify impacts on people and nature as well as consider alternatives to the project. Also gives president authority to waive environmental review to “expedite” a project.

 3. It lets transit agencies off the hook from having to give alternatives to capital projects that often have a racially discriminatory impact on low income and communities of color.

The bill proposes to eliminate “New Starts alternatives analysis” and “consolidate steps in the review process.” This will eliminate checks and balances against “boondoggle” projects funded by the New Starts program. Historically, many of these costly New Starts projects have disproportionately burdened, displaced or failed to benefit low income and communities of color (for example, a rail extension that would bypass neighborhoods of color while taking more affluent, white riders to the airport).

 4. It would expand offshore oil and gas drilling and open a back door to projects like the Keystone XL Pipeline.

The bill proposes to use revenue from expanded offshore oil/gas drilling to pay for the bill, expanding dirty energy production at the expense of addressing climate change and clean energy production. In addition, Speaker Boehner has threatened to attach the Keystone Pipeline proposal to the House Transportation bill.

 5. It allows “air quality improvement” (CMAQ) funds to be used for highway expansions.

The House bill would change the CMAQ program by making congestion reduction, not air quality, a criterion for eligibility. With these changes a project doesn’t need to reduce air pollution it just needs to be “likely” to reduce congestion. Under this new definition, the construction of new highway lanes qualifies for CMAQ funding. Many states and MPOs would likely use CMAQ funds for highway construction at the expense of expanding transit service, bicycle and pedestrian-friendly projects.

6. It ties funding flexibility for transit operators to anti-union measures
The bill would allow transit operators the ability to flex funding in exchange for increased “public-private partnerships.” This will result in further privatizing union jobs and continuing the assault on the public sector work force.