Public Transportation Preservation Act Introduced

June 2, 2010 at 12:14 AM Leave a comment

I’m hopeful the Public Transportation Preservation Act of 2010 bill will pass and become law. It’s sadly ironic, though, to reflect on why our federal senators’ (Lautenberg, Menendez, Gillibrand, Schumer, Dodd, others) had to introduce the $2 billion bill to aid transit, to prevent more service cuts.  If Congress, with the help of the Clinton-Gore Administration, had not zeroed out federal operating aid to transit systems in major metro areas in 1998, when TEA-21 was passed, our transit systems wouldn’t be in the dire fix they are in right now.  Cuts started in the Reagan era, but the “devolution” movement hurried that along, arguing that highways, ports and transit systems were the sole responsibility of state and local governments, and that transit systems in particular had to become more efficient.  The too-early judgment was made after an infusion of federal (and state) capital aid, which helped organize transit systems from bankrupt predecessors, build new or modernize existing systems, and replace old fleets with new rail cars and buses, in the mid- to late 1980s, did not produce immediate transit ridership increases.  (Those ridership increases did materialize in the next decade, and by 2000, many transit systems were bursting at the seams, and risked even more expansive building programs.)  This kind of thing must make Sen.  Moynihan roll over in his grave.

Entry filed under: Environment, Politics, Transportation. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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