Public Transit And Road Building Lobbies - Tied At The Hip?

Why would the nation's major public transit organization work so closely with America' major road lobbying group, even when it comes to opposing landmark climate legislation aimed at reducing 33% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from transportation?

The strange alliance has proved beneficial in Congress, providing a framework for compromise amongst Democrats, Republicans, and urban, suburban and rural interests, notwithstanding the apparent short-changing of the transit advocates.

"Here's one inconvenient truth holding in line the status quo of automobile dependency in the United States: the nation's primary proponent of transit, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), stands on virtually every issue hand-in-hand with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the nation's main advocates of increased highway spending.

APTA and AASHTO have shown themselves committed to retaining a structural funding split in favor of highways over other modes of travel, despite the fact that that reliance systematically enforces automobile dependency. The organizations' approach to the Senate's proposed energy and climate legislation has been little different. in a joint statement in mid-May, APTA and AASHTO argued against the bill because about two-thirds of new revenues sourced from fuel consumption would be directed to non-transportation related investments, equivalent to heresy in their minds."

From Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Transportation interests oppose new climate bill: "Twenty-eight groups representing government transportation officials, trucking interests, mass transit operators, transit employees, motorists, construction workers and contractors said the legislation would impose higher fuel tax costs but divert most of the money from transportation improvements." [See Coalition letter on transportation funding and the American Power Act"].

However, other transportation groups endorse the transportation approach in the legislation. "The American Power Act represents a key step towards creating a long-term policy that will meet our country's future climate, energy and transportation goals, "said Transportation for America Director James Corless.

Thanks to Marilyn Skolnick

Full Story: The Highway-Transit Alliance Strains the Senate's Energy Legislation

Comments

Comments

Irvin Dawid's picture
Correspondent

4 questions about transportation funds in American Power Act:

Another look at this baffling alliance by Mobilizing The Region (MTF):
The Transit Industry's Mystifying Protest of a Transit-Friendly Energy Bill
by Ya-Ting Liu, June 2:
Here's the breakdown of where the $6.25 billion in transportation funds from APA go (according to article):
*Roughly 1/3 for Highway Trust Fund (HTF) w/ strings (applied to projects that “shall be used to promote the safety, effectiveness, and efficiency of transportation”)
*Roughly 1/3 for TIGER (Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery)
*Roughly 1/3 for CLEAN-TEA (competitive clean transport and land use grants)

Here's 4 simple questions every transit advocate should ask him/herself:
1. Why would APTA want the TIGER and CLEAN-TEA funds going to the HTF instead??
2. Is this a climate bill or a transportation bill?
3. Is the purpose of it to reduce emissions or fund transportation projects?
4. What is the proper legislation to fund the HTF?

MTF notes that APTA not only wanted all funds directed to HTF, but they didn't want 'low carbon projects' given priority funding. Whose transit organization are they?

Irvin Dawid, Palo Alto, CA

Transportation funding in the climate bill.

The blunt truth is that this bill is so porked-up and altered by the fossil fuel lobby that it is waaay in their best interest to have it passed so they can game the system. As opposed to a straight carbon tax, which the auto lobby, the fossil fool lobby and the coal lobby can't game.

Best,

D

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