APTA | Passenger Transport
The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis
Forward to a Friend »
February 3, 2012
House and Senate Introduce Transportation Bills; House Ways & Means Committee Undoes 30 Years of Dedicated Revenue to Public Transportation

Surface transportation authorization bills were the focus of major action on Capitol Hill this week. Senate and House authorizers both settled on Feb. 2 as the date to begin work in the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (T&I), while the House Ways & Means Committee took drastic steps in a Friday markup removing the historic dedicated funding of public transportation through motor fuels tax receipts.

The House T&I Committee -- in a marathon markup that lasted 18 hours, extending into the early morning -- passed HR 7, the American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act, on a party line vote.

In contrast, earlier on Thursday, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL) held a markup of a bipartisan bill that would authorize two-year funding for FTA programs at FY 2012 levels.

The most significant development occurred Friday morning when the House Ways & Means Committee approved on a party line vote the financing title to the bill, which ends the provision of the 2.86 cents currently dedicated to the Mass Transit Account of the Highway Trust Fund, replacing it with undetermined funds.

APTA President Michael Melaniphy released a statement yesterday including the following passage: “On behalf of the 1,500 members of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and Americans who take more than 10 billion public transit trips annually, we are strongly opposed to the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee proposal to divert $25 billion in dedicated fuels tax revenues from the Mass Transit Account.  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.” The full text of his statement can be found here.

Numerous organizations opposed the proposal, including AASHTO and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. In addition, more than 600 organizations sent a letter to House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) and Ranking Member Sander M. Levin (D-MI), urging the committee to reject the bill and work to continue to fund public transit and highway programs through dedicated funding. Signatories include APTA, Transportation for America, AARP, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, health and rural groups, and Departments of Transportation.

APTA will continue to to fight for dedicated funding as the bill advances. More legislative action is planned in the next two weeks by both the House and Senate.

Notice for Proposed Rulemaking Informational Sessions Set
Last week’s Passenger Transport reported on an upcoming series of outreach sessions and webinars for  New and Small Starts. There will be three sessions and one webinar. The webinar will be held on Feb. 28th with additional information to be posted on the FTA website in the near future. The dates and times for the other sessions are:
1. Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012:  Cityplace Conference Center, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Central, 2711 North Haskell Avenue, Dallas, TX 75204.
2. Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012:  San Diego County Administration Building, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Pacific, 1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego, CA 92101.
3. Thursday, Monday, Feb. 23, 2012:  MARTA Headquarters Atrium, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Eastern, 2424 Piedmont Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30324.


The APTA Legislative Conference is coming up March 11-13 and all you need to do is read the top news item to know that this conference will be packed with details, updates and vital information you need to know about how Congress is proceeding through authorization of a surface transportation bill.


Streetsblog is going local. The well-known blog about sustainable transportation and livable communities is creating two new community-focused “bureaus” that will highlight issues affecting the localities of South L.A. and Boyle Heights in a very specific way.
Crime Stoppers--the public transportation version. When Cara McSweeney reported her car stolen, she turned to the bus to get her around town. When she saw her car while riding the bus, she called 911, which led to the apprehension of two persons and the clearing up of several burglaries.
Closing the gender gap. Women in 15 European countries ride public transportation more than men. In the U.S. the categories are led by women with children under the age of 5. Much has been made over why this is, but men are catching up because of an increasing use of “chaining” among male public transportation users.

© Copyright 2011 American Public Transportation Association
1666 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20006
Telephone (202) 496-4882 • Fax (202) 496-4321
Calendar | APTA Home | Search Back Issues | Unsubscribe