Bus

Mid-term elections should have been our wake up call

Posted on December 23, 2010 by Frank Di Giacomo, Publisher

If there was any doubt that the next two years, particularly 2011, would continue the massive increases in federal public transportation spending, this past November's elections should have removed it. In fact, the results should be our wake-up call. Our industry may be in for a fight that will be bigger than it was in 1995, when there was talk of eliminating the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).

It is not just that Democrats lost more than 60 seats, the biggest mid-term beating of a president's party in more than 70 years. Many of the winners have never held public office before, and they were elected on promises to shrink the size of government. In fact, more than one-half of the new House of Representatives will have been elected after the last major authorizations were passed. That means that we all have a big education job to do, even to show why there is a federal role at all for public transportation.

This is not going to be like 1995, either. That year, after the new Republican majority first proposed to merge the FTA with the Federal Highway Administration and turn the combined funding over to the states in the form of block grants, Republican governors and mayors were out front urging their congressional colleagues to pass more funding for highways and public transportation. The result was TEA 21 and SAFETEA-LU, which included record levels of guaranteed federal funding. This time around, many of those elected as governors and state legislators describe our programs as wasteful.

However, it is not like all Republicans want to gut federal programs. In fact, the new chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), wants to introduce, in early spring, a bill almost as big as what his predecessor, former Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.), proposed. The real question is how to pay for it, and even there, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and most members of President Obama's deficit commission favor a gas tax increase to pay for more infrastructure spending, including on public transportation, to help grow the economy.

We in the industry, now more than ever before, need to help make the case that there is a federal role in public transportation, and it needs to be strengthened. We should also remind Congressional members, especially the newly elected conservatives, that another new conservative government, in Great Britain, is simultaneously cutting most spending to balance its budget but increasing infrastructure spending, including high-speed rail and local public transportation. They see this as part of a strategy to help them compete in the global economy.

In other words, there are many arguments in favor of public transportation investment that could resonate with conservatives. But we need to make them, over and over again, and now.

 

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

TAPTCO, MSTCO create course to help drivers pass CDL test

The course is available in hard copy containing seven interactive CDs together with a trainer’s guide, a driver’s study guide, and a book of practice tests. Alternately, the course is available over the web through a learning management system, so that applicants can go through the training and practice tests from any location.

Canada's London Transit adding 28 New Flyer Xcelsior buses

The award is part of a contract extension from a Nov. 13, 2014 LTC contract, awarded to New Flyer, whereby a one-year extension on the contract was exercisable at the discretion of LTC.

Capital Metro retires last University of Texas shuttle bus

The fleet of burnt orange and white buses has served the UT campus since 1998 and has become a hallmark of Capital Metro’s longstanding partnership with the university.

COTA to provide free Wi-Fi on entire 444-bus fleet

The cost to COTA will be no more than $250,000 per year, though, the agency is hopeful negotiations with companies vying for the contract will result in no charge for them.

Suspicious device found on NY MTA bus

Discovered during a routine inspection, the device was attached with a large magnet to the bottom of the oil pan near the bumper.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close