Legislative alert: Show your support to save funding for public transit
The US House Ways and Means Committee today voted to eliminate the dedicated funding to transit from the federal gas tax. Contact your California representatives to tell them of transit's value to your life and to the region! Refer to HR7 - The American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act.
As a part of its transportation and transit reauthorization effort, a US House committee today voted to eliminate the use of motor fuel tax revenues for public transportation, revenues that have been dedicated to public transportation for nearly 30 years, and would have generated $25 billion in funding for transit over 5 years. An alternative funding source to cover the costs of a 5-year transit program has not yet been identified. In contrast, the Senate version of the transportation and transit bill without this and other controversial provisions (called MAP-21), was approved nearly unanimously today in committee.
Groups on record opposing the US House action include the American Public Transit Association (APTA), American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), American Road and Transportation Builders (ARTBA), US Conference of Mayors, US Chamber of Commerce, American Association of Civil Engineers (ASCE), T4America, AAA of America and others.
Your California representatives are listed below. Please take a moment to let our federal representatives know that you value transit and oppose any changes that would eliminate a stable funding source.
The next step in both houses is a floor debate, which is likely to occur during the next two weeks. If each bill passes its house of origin, the two bills will then be sent to a conference committee made up of key members of the Senate and the House, where the vast differences will either be reconciled, or the bills will not move.
We are working closely with Senator Barbara Boxer and our Bay Area delegation to amend pieces of the House bill that are damaging to public transit. For example, the House bill eliminates all funding for access, bike and pedestrian improvements at or near transit stations. Getting passengers on foot or bicycle safely to BART's fare gates cannot be ignored in the reauthorization.
- BART system carries approximately 105 million riders annually.
- BART carries 160,000 workers in and out of San Francisco's eight stations each day.
- During rush hour, BART carries as many riders to and from San Francisco as travel over the Bay Bridge.
- More than 50% of the workforce in Oakland travels to work by BART.
Some impacts from the loss of a portion of federal gas tax money ($45 million annually) to the BART system:
- More frequent train breakdowns because our cables and substations that carry the electrical current that powers the trains will wear out and break down.
- Higher costs to BART riders because BART may have to increase fares to make up for the funding loss.
- Fewer riders because poor track and elevated guideway maintenance will slow the trains, deteriorate our on-time performance, and could effect passenger safety.
- Increased traffic congestion and pollution because hundreds of thousands of additional drivers could be on the freeway daily.
- Loss of mobility for the Bay Area workforce. Some people will simply not be able to navigate an already crowded and clogged transportation system, and the costs to businesses such as Yahoo, the Bank of America, the Clorox Company and the University of California educational system would be significant.
Contact your Congressional Representative: http://www.house.gov/representatives/
Contact your US Senators: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm