|July 8, 2011|
|Mica Announces Outline of House Transportation Authorization that Would Cut Federal Funding by More than 30 Percent|
House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Chairman John L. Mica (R-FL) held a press conference yesterday to outline the transportation authorization bill he plans to introduce. For more information please refer to today's APTA Legislative Alert.
This is only the first step of many. With two committees sharing jurisdiction over the bill (T&I and Ways and Means), the likelihood is that discussion of this bill and its impacts will continue well after the August recess. The Senate must also take action before the extension of SAFETEA-LU expires on September 30.
APTA President William Millar commended the leadership of Mica in moving forward the legislation. However, he said in a statement: "With high gas prices and a slow economy, now is not the time to implement cuts of more than 30 percent in public transportation funding. This lack of investment in the nation's public transportation infrastructure will have a chilling effect on our country's ability to create
jobs and provide access to jobs necessary to move the economy forward."
Democratic Ranking Member Nick Rahall (D-WV) and Committee Democrats also held a press conference yesterday criticizing the proposed transportation authorization bill.
FL Gov. Scott Approves SunRail Commuter Line
Florida Gov. Rick Scott approved the new 61-mile SunRail commuter line last week and allowed the project to proceed after months of uncertainty. The new project in Florida will connect downtown Orlando to Osceola, Seminole, and Volusia counties. When it reaches full speed, it will provide those communities with 17 train stations.
LaHood to Address Efficiency and Flexibility in Webcast
DOT is striving to improve the way it works with state, local, and tribal governments. Join Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on July 13 for a webcast to discuss how the department has increased its flexibility and share your thoughts, ideas, and concerns for the future. Reserve your spot now!
Americans Willing to Consider Higher Gas Tax, Mineta Transportation Institute Study Reports
The Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) released the findings of year two of its ongoing study, What Do Americans Think about Federal Transportation Tax Options? Results from Year 2 of a National Survey. The survey shows that Americans are willing to consider a higher gas tax or mileage tax when the way those funds will be spent is clearly defined and
understandable. This follow up to a similar survey that MTI conducted in 2010 suggests that Americans are just as willing to support tax increases for transportation this year as last, or even slightly more so.
IN THE MEDIA
The Washington Post reported July 6 on the transportation authorization bill House Republicans are presenting that would cut funding for public transportation, and outlines what those cuts would mean to the nation.
If you need directions and want to use public transit, you are in luck if you own an Android phone. Google Maps for Android now has transit options for more than 400 cities.
Goodbye staycation and hello vacation! Orbitz.com, which found Americans ready to hit the open road and explore everything America has to offer, suggests doing that exploring with a local public transit map in hand.