On Thursday, Rep. Ayanna Pressley joined 32 other members of the US Congress in the Transit parity resolutioncalling on the federal government to end its 40-year practice of spending four times as much on highways as it does on transit.
Since 1982 the federal government has been promoting transport through the “80-20 shared” which prevents the Federal Ministry of Transport from spending more than 20 percent of its money from the Highway Trust Fund on transit projects, leaving the majority of federal funds for highway projects.
During the Reagan administration, when the 80-20 funding split was originally set, the Highway Trust Fund was still funded by federal gas tax, so lawmakers at the time streamlined that most of the money should go to the streets.
But after decades of expensive motorway expansion and falling gas tax revenues (the federal gas tax has not been increased since 1993), gas taxes are no longer sufficient to pay for the country’s overbuilt motorway infrastructure. Since 2008, the legislature has the trust fund with $ 144 billion from other taxpayers’ money.
This begs the question: If motorists no longer pay for the state’s transportation programs on freeways, why do federal spending still spend four times as much money on freeways as they do on local transport?
“Public transportation is a public good and it is high time our government treated it that way,” said Rep. Pressley in a press release announcing the liquidation. “For too long, our federal transport investments have given highways priority over public transport and created incentives for traveling in private cars, which increases traffic congestion, creates environmental pollution and exacerbates racial and economic inequality. Today we have the opportunity and the obligation to fundamentally realign our federal transport policy in order to center the connectivity of the community and to emphasize justice, access and sustainability. “
The proposed resolution states: “The House of Representatives (1) declares that public transportation is for the benefit of all Americans and is a national priority; and (2) notes that prioritizing local public transport, including safe access to public transport, requires the federal government to allocate funds for local public transport equal to the amount of motorway funding. “
Transportation for America, an organization focused on improving federal transportation policies, welcomed the resolution.
“Why shouldn’t transit receive 80 percent or even 100 percent of the transportation dollars?” Wrote Emily Mangan on the T4America blog earlier this year. “We are not saying that other modes of transport should not receive money. The point is that all assumptions should be challenged and funds should go to projects that will quickly create jobs in a stimulus package and support the needs and goals of today, not those of 40 years ago. “
T4America is too Collect signatures for an online petition End the 80-20 funding policy.