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Criticism for Transportation Spending in House-Approved $3 Trillion Relief Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives approved the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act earlier this month. Transit advocates say the bill reinforces the car-centric status quo.
May 26, 2020, 6am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"The latest COVID-19 relief bill perpetuates some of the worst aspects of American transportation policy — and barely acknowledged how our transportation realities have shifted in the wake of the pandemic," according to Kea Wilson's assessment of the HEROES Act.

The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act has been approved by Democrats in the House of Representatives, but Senate Republicans have been less than supportive, so the bill is likely to change substantially if it is approved.

Among the spending included in the proposed $3 trillion bill are $15 billion for the Federal Highway Administration to distribute to transportation departments across the country and $16 billion for public transit. "Advocates quickly questioned both numbers — the former because it was too large, and the latter because it was too small," according to Wilson.

As explained by Wilson, the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials has been lobbying for funding to deal with anticipated shortages of transportation revenues as people stay home and drive less at unprecedented levels. Planetizen has covered news about expected gas tax revenue declines in Missouri and California.

On the transit side, the American Public Transportation Association earlier this month requested $23.8 billion in emergency funds to support public transit, so the HEROES Act falls far short.

Published on Saturday, May 23, 2020 in Streetsblog USA
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