House members demand more funding for public transit
This week, more than 30 members of the House endorsed a resolution that calls for equity in funding for public transit. Congress currently allocates roughly 80 percent of federal transportation program funding to highways, versus 20 percent to transit.
The resolution calls for an equal split. Its lead sponsors were Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-IL), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA).
The 80/20 funding scheme is “out of step with the current needs of our country and leaves too many reliant on deteriorating transit systems with infrequent and unreliable service,” according to Garcia, one of the most vocal advocates for public transit during the pandemic. In July, he and more than 100 colleagues called for more transit funding to be a key part of any new Covid-relief packages.
“Decades-long disinvestment has starved communities of adequate public transportation and created deep, physical barriers to jobs, health care, and education,” Garcia said in his recent statement. “Simply put, breaking the status quo on transit funding is an urgent matter of equity and economic opportunity.”
Pressley said that “as transportation agencies in my district and across the country face record budget shortfalls due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we must act swiftly to make the investments in public transit our communities deserve by establishing real funding parity.” The resolution is supported by a wide range of organizations, including the League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club, Livable Streets Alliance, Disability Rights Education Foundation, and the National Association of City Transportation Officials.