Oh, how quickly the tide turns.
It was just less than two years ago that the cry for more public transportation funding or, at least, an understanding that more funding was necessary, had been heard by the federal government, in particular by President Barack Obama. Now, a half-term of bi-partisan incompetence has yielded a swift change in congressional leadership that is nearly unprecedented.
Although the 112th Congress hasn't even come to term yet, this change is already being felt in the public transportation industry, with both Wisconsin and Ohio high-speed rail projects immediately being cancelled after Republican Governors were voted into office last November.
What's more, the changes in both the House and Senate jeopardize what looked almost like an inevitable uptick in federal funding once details of the Federal Surface Transportation authorization bill were finally hammered out. In other words, if it looked like an uphill battle to pass an authorization bill before, how conservative do you think that those on Capitol Hill are going to be now that notice was proverbially served last November?
Following his confirmation as the new Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. John L. Mica (R-Fla) said that completing stalled projects and getting better utilization out of the federal government's assets are top priorities in ensuring "a strong backbone for our economy."
Of course, Rep. Mica's right, and it all sounds good, but is it just me that feels like a new transportation authorization bill or, at the very least, more federal support for public transportation, is getting smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror? What does the industry do now?