"Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) decried the lengthy delays that have plagued the FTA's New Starts program, which requires mass transit proposals to clear a number of bureaucratic hurdles before qualifying for federal aid. "Many desirable projects don't seem to make it into the mix," Reed said.
Rogoff strongly agreed, pointing to a recently released FTA report that found a $50 billion backlog of needed repairs at America's seven largest transit systems (Boston, Chicago, New York, New Jersey, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.).
"Some of these deferred maintenance issues quickly become safety issues," Rogoff warned. He urged the senators to strike a balance between funding new public transit projects -- for which "it's a lot easier to garner enthusiasm" -- and repairing the already broken systems in major cities."