Monday, February 13, 2012

House Transportation Bill Would Gut Metro Funding

Posted By on Mon, Feb 13, 2012 at 2:46 PM

click to enlarge Bus.jpg
The US House of Representatives is scheduled to discuss today its version of the 2012 transportation bill -- a bill that could have major ramifications for the City and the counties.

If passed, the bill, HR 7, states that mass transit would no longer automatically receive one-fifth of the fuel tax revenue. Instead Metro, and mass transit systems nation-wide, would be forced to compete against other programs for that money, with no success guaranteed on a yearly basis. Losing the funding would change Metro's budget planning now and for the future, including maintenance of the existing bus fleet and potential expansion.

Not surprisingly, Metro is against the bill. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is on record as calling it "The worst transportation bill I've ever seen during 35 years of public service." The Obama Administration, however, does support it.

With a $1 trillion deficit every year, the federal government does need to slash pay-outs and increase revenue. In addition to changing the disbursement of the fuel tax revenue, HR 7 would also expand offshore drilling and reduce the retirement benefits of federal workers -- both measures that could conceivably make and/or save some much needed funds.

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