A blog for better streets and public spaces in Portland, Maine.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

URGENT action alert: call Reps. Michaud and Pingree for better transit funding in the stimulus

Passing this along from T4America...

After a flurry of activity over the last two days, the amendment offered by Rep. Jerrold Nadler to add $3 billion to the transit funding in the House Economy Recovery and Revitalization Act has cleared the Rules Committee and will reach the floor for a vote, possibly as early as Wednesday at noon.

Click for information on making a call

Thanks to everyone who has helped thus far, either by calling on behalf of DeFazio’s (withdrawn) amendment or calling House leadership.

But it’s not over yet. This is our last best chance to change the substance of the stimulus package in the House.

Now that it has made it to the floor, we need votes! We are asking all of you to call your Representatives and urge them to support this amendment that will add desperately needed funds to the transit portion of the House recovery package. The window is potentially very short, with only a few hours for action!

Tell your Reps to support the amendment offered by U.S. Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Peter DeFazio (D- OR), Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Michael McMahon (D-NY) to increase transit capital funding. Specifically, the amendment would provide $1.5 billion in funding for transit capital improvement program and $1.5 billion for the New Starts Program, raising the total funding level for transit and rail in the recovery bill to $12 billion.

In the poll released a few weeks ago by Transportation For America and the National Association of Realtors, fully 80% of respondents said that stimulus funds should not only create jobs, but also help us meet the goals of reducing oil dependence, improving the environment and increasing transportation options. Now is the time to increase much needed funding for public transportation.

Transportation For America has identified more than $5 billion in new transit extension and rail projects that could be ready to go in 120 days, generating over 178,000 new jobs. These investments could put people to work building and operating rail cars and bus vehicles, in the steel and concrete industries and in design and planning professions.

You can also use these talking points from the National Association of City Transportation Officials, via Streetsblog:

Transit is the future of our nation’s metropolitan regions which represent 80% of the US population. Public transit ridership has been surging over the last year, but instead of capitalizing on the public demand for more and better transit, cities are being forced to curtail service and cut jobs.

These modest adjustments will result in far-reaching impact on mobility, pollution reduction, and economic stimulation in metropolitan regions.

Discuss the transit need in your city and the fact that federal resources for transit can absolutely be spent within the timeframes set out by the bill.

Click for information on making a call

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