May 15, 2015
» Palm Tran is looking for an executive director. [More]
» The Lone Star Rail District has an opening for a senior administrator. [More]
» Los Angeles Metro is accepting proposals for heavy rail vehicle overhaul and critical component replacement. [More]
View more Classified Ads »
TO PLACE AN AD: E-mail the requested date(s) of publication to: Mailing address is: Passenger Transport, 1666 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006. Ad copy is not accepted by phone. DEADLINE: 3 p.m. EST, Friday, one week prior to publication date. INFORMATION: Phone (202) 496-4877.

I Stand With My Colleagues For America's Future

Secretary, U.S. DOT
In the spirit of Infrastructure Week, it is important to recognize that the future presents a number of serious transportation challenges.

Our population is increasing, our roads are deteriorating and, as the president likes to say, “We have 100,000 bridges old enough for Medicare.” Congestion is choking economic growth and slowing job growth. 
Business owners are finding it harder to ship their goods and folks are finding it harder to get to work. In fact, the New York Times recently reported that commuting time is the single largest factor when calculating the odds of escaping poverty. Never before has the connection between economic prosperity and transportation been so self-evident. So Congress must be acting to meet the needs of modern transportation, right? Think again.

Yesterday [May 11], Shaun Donovan, director of the Office of Management and Budget and former secretary of Housing and Urban Development, sent a letter to the House Committee on Appropriations expressing his concerns with the Fiscal Year 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. [See an excerpt below.]
In his letter, Mr. Donovan made it clear that the bill proposed by members of the committee seriously underfunds important investments that are necessary to address the very real challenges of both housing and infrastructure.

I echo Mr. Donovan’s concerns.

Since assuming the role of secretary of transportation, I have advocated for the GROW AMERICA bill. GROW AMERICA is a necessary long-term solution to our nation’s infrastructure challenges. Not only does the House’s proposed budget fail to fund GROW, but it would lock in sequestration funding levels for FY 2016. For many reasons, Americans should find this alarming.

In addition to GROW AMERICA, TIGER grants that fund economic recovery projects are also on the chopping block. These cuts would have funding reduced by 80 percent—the lowest level since funding began in 2009.

I could go on at length about how harmful this budget would be for our infrastructure. Not only does it not address the realities of our transit system—it could very well speed up the process of infrastructure degradation.

I believe that Congress truly does want to address the needs of our aging infrastructure and a growing population. This is why my colleagues in the administration and I are willing to work with Congress on formulating a funding proposal that serves Americans well.

Our transportation system—and our country—demands nothing less.

OMG Director: Bill Prevents Partners from Making Crucial Investments
The following is an excerpt of a letter from Shaun Donovan, director, Office of Management and Budget, to Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), chairman, Committee on Appropriations, House of Representatives, May 11, in advance of the full committee’s scheduled markup of a funding proposal for transportation and housing and urban development. ­Donovan submitted the same letter to Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), committee ranking member.
[W]e have a number of serious concerns about this legislation … .
The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill is among the first appropriations bills being considered under the congressional Repub­licans’ 2016 budget framework … .
The inadequate overall funding levels in the Republicans’ 2016 budget framework cause a number of problems with the subcommittee bill specifically. Overall, according to the subcommittee, this bill reduces funding by about $9.7 billion, or 15 percent, below the president’s budget, which … proposes a long-term, fully-paid-for surface transportation reauthorization proposal. The funding levels in the bill would prevent state and local partners from making crucial investments in surface transportation infrastructure. … For example:
Compared to the president’s budget, the subcommittee bill would cut funding for competitive Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants by over a billion dollars, reducing TIGER funding to about 80 percent below the lowest level since the program began in 2009, despite the fact that it is vastly oversubscribed, supports some of the most transformative highway, port, and transit projects in the United States, and helps state and local partners leverage public and private dollars.

The bill also underfunds the president’s request for support of locally-planned, implemented, and operated transit capital investments, or “new starts,” by $1.3 billion, or 41 percent. In contrast to the president’s budget, the combination of sequestration funding levels and the lack of any plan for a long-term surface transportation reauthorization not only precludes new investments, it leads the subcommittee bill to freeze or cut most major capital accounts below prior year levels. …
The administration also strongly objects to prohibiting the Surface Transportation Board from taking any action to approve subsequent phases of the California High Speed Rail project between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The administration believes passenger rail can play an important role in addressing transportation needs and opposes any attempts to limit state and local choices to enhance passenger rail. …
This “Commentary” section features different points of view from various sources to enhance readers’ broad awareness of themes and views that affect public transportation.
« Previous Article
Return to Top
Next Article »
© Copyright American Public Transportation Association
1666 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20006
Telephone (202) 496-4882 • Fax (202) 496-4321
Print Version | Search Back Issues | Contact Us | Unsubscribe
Twitter Flickr Blog YouTube Facebook