Today, Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) strongly objected to the House Republican transportation bill, which would jeopardize badly needed funding for Chicago-area mass transit by ending funding for public transportation from motor fuel taxes.
“The CTA, Metra, and Pace provide absolutely vital transportation for our region,” Rep. Lipinski said. “They connect people with jobs. They cut down on congestion on our already overcrowded roads. Public transportation needs more investment, not less. Among other things, the House Republican bill would force the CTA to choose between losing tens of millions of dollars in federal funding annually or splitting into two agencies, one for rail and one for bus, which would reduce efficiency and raise costs for taxpayers. That is exactly the sort of irrational policymaking that the American people are tired of. What’s more, this bill undermines the bipartisan agreement that has helped strengthen transit for the American people over many years. Motor fuel taxes have been funding mass transit for three decades under a bipartisan agreement that dates back to the Reagan presidency. Now, House Republicans want to do away with that and stop any fuel taxes from being used to fund mass transit. So where is the money going to come from? And how can we be certain that we’ll be able to make the investment in mass transit that we need going forward? Turning our backs on the bipartisan consensus that has helped make public transportation accessible for countless Americans is a bad idea, plain and simple.”
During last week’s committee markup of the transportation bill, Rep. Lipinski offered an amendment to provide additional funding for Chicago-area mass transit by making comprehensive rebuilding of transit lines eligible for grants under the government’s New Starts program. Unfortunately, the amendment was not adopted by the committee. Rep. Lipinski also co-authored an amendment to eliminate language in the bill that would force the CTA to choose between losing $36 million a year or splitting into two separate agencies, one for rail and one for bus, which would raise costs for taxpayers.