Transit Aid: The Operating Vs. Capital Dilemma

Transit advocates are used to battling the 'road lobby', but this article reports on a clash between small and mid-sized transit agencies (who want more flexibility) against the larger ones, as well as the main transit lobbying organization, APTA.

The article reports on a Cleveland suburb's transit crisis where the transit agency received stimulus funds for new buses at the same time lack of operating assistance caused it to eliminate most its routes. This seemingly contradictory scenario is being played out throughout the country - yet there appears reluctance on the part of the transit agencies themselves to fix the funding imbalance problem.

"The $787 billion (federal) stimulus package included $8 billion for mass transit, but in keeping with longstanding rules, most of the money has to be used for capital investment. As a result, transit agencies are laying off workers, raising fares and slashing service to close yawning budget gaps.

To address this imbalance, a bipartisan group is pushing legislation that would give transit systems more freedom to use federal funding -- $10 billion a year on top of the stimulus money -- as they see fit. But the legislation is facing unlikely resistance: Some of the biggest transit agencies, such as New York's MTA and Washington's Metro, are opposed, as is the main transit lobbying group (American Public Transit Association), setting up an unusual clash in the mass transit world."

Thanks to Christian Peeples

Full Story: Funding rules fuel clash within mass transit world

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