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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

House Ways and Means Committee passes measure that cuts mass transit funds


In passing the financing title of the House’s surface transportation bill, the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday approved a plan to end a provision in the Highway Trust Fund that dedicates $2.86 of the gas tax to mass transit.

The action replaced the gas tax contribution to the Mass Transit Account with “undetermined funds,” according to a statement from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

“On behalf of the 1,500 members of APTA and Americans who take more than 10 billion public transit trips annually, we are strongly opposed to the House Ways and Means Committee proposal to divert $25 billion in dedicated fuel tax revenues from the Mass Transit Account,” APTA President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Melaniphy said in a prepared statement. “This represents nearly 50 percent of the federal investment in public transit authorized by the House surface transportation bill. This drastic change will clearly put public transportation projects at risk.”

Other transportation-related associations and organizations criticized the committee’s action, as well, including Regional Plan Association America 2050.

“This bill threatens to fracture a longstanding surface-transportation coalition of highway and public transit advocates that together have been instrumental in enacting the nation’s transportation polices since 1982,” said Petra Todorovich, the association's director. “Without transit, the transportation bill will not get through Congress this year.”

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More News from 2/6/2012