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7/24/2002



Rail News: Passenger Rail

House committee to mark up transit flexibility bill


U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee plans July 24 to mark up Transit Operating Flexibility Act (H.R. 5157), which Committee Chairman Don Young (R-Alaska) introduced July 18 to provide communities impacted by the 2000 Census flexibility in using federal transit funds.



Federal transit law currently prohibits areas with populations of more than 200,000 to use federal formula grant funds to pay for transit operating expenses.



However, 52 communities’ populations nationwide surpassed the 200,000 mark in the 2000 Census. Some populations simply grew beyond 200,000, while other communities were absorbed into nearby major metropolitan areas, or combined with nearby small cities resulting in a combined total population of more than 200,000.



H.R. 5157 would permit transit systems that crossed over the 200,000 mark to continue through fiscal-year 2003 to use federal transit formula grants in the same way they did during FY02.



"The loss of flexibility in the use of transit funds is potentially devastating to a number of newly designated urban areas all over the country," said Young in a statement prepared July 23. "This bill will allow these communities to smoothly transition into their new status and ensure continued service to thousands of people who depend on public transportation every day."


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