Greater City Providence

House Transportation Bill still needs killing


Photo (cc) Joe Shlabotnik

The House of Representatives has passed their antiquated transportation bill out of Committee and it is now being considered by the full House. Among other things, the Bill would eliminate guaranteed funding for Public Transit through the gas tax, forcing transit agencies to compete with other programs for funding through the general fund.

Recent news coverage on the Transportation Bill:

Contact your members of Congress:

RIPTA has released the following statement:

RIPTA Says it is Essential to Maintain Dedicated Funding for Public Transportation Funding in the Surface Transportation Legislation

February 10, 2012

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) today expresses its strong opposition for the provisions in House bill H.R. 3864, the federal American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Financing Act, which would eliminate dedicated federal fuels taxes for public transit and create long-term uncertainty for public transportation funding for the first time since the Reagan administration. As RIPTA looks to expand capacity during record ridership, this change will have dire consequences for the thousands of people in Rhode Island who rely on public transit.

Since 1983, nearly half of all public transportation funding has been provided from the federal motor fuels tax dedicated to the Highway Trust Fund. This funding structure has successfully provided highway and transit programs with secure, dedicated revenues and has allowed public transit systems around the country to create jobs and foster economic growth.

Under the proposed change, public transit funding would receive a one-time appropriation with no funding for public transportation after 2016. This would create deep uncertainty for RIPTA.

“I strongly oppose H.R. 3864 which will eliminate dedicated federal fuels taxes for public transit,” said Charles Odimgbe, CEO. “This change will make it very difficult for us to plan for the future, even as we are seeing more people than ever turning to public transportation to get around. Instead of creating jobs and encouraging economic growth, we will be forced to contend each year with a deeply divided Congress.”

Public transportation is a proven solution to many of the economic problems facing the United States. For every $1 billion invested, more than 36,000 jobs are created and supported, resulting in nearly $500 million in federal, state, and local tax revenues. For every $1 invested in public transportation, $4 is generated in economic returns.

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  • I think House Republican leaders know their bill as is cannot get thru the Senate or this President, but their strategy seems to be to move the middle of the road far far to the right, so that they won’t now actually eliminate transit assistance, bike/ped programs, safe-routes-to-school, Amtrak/high-speed rail, adequate environmental reviews, a conference committee compromise if any continues those programs at much reduced rates, crippling them for the long run.

    However this shows what Republicans will do if they win the next election. It will be a future of oil industry control, pollution, ugliness, urban decay, obesity, and reduced mobility for all who do not drive. I know the psychological appeal of being moderate and non-partisan, but to avoid this future we have to face the fact the national Republican Party has been captured by extremists.

  • GoLocalProv: Cicilline Rips GOP on Transportation Bill

    “Rather than spending time on divisive, controversial, and highly partisan policies, we should be working on commonsense legislation that will put Rhode Islanders and middle class families across our country back to work,” said Cicilline. “Rhode Island cannot afford the consequences of these ideological proposals. I will continue fighting against these reckless anti-environment poison pills so we can pass a common sense transportation bill that creates jobs, supports mass transit, and helps rebuild our crumbling roads and bridges.”

  • The Hill: Boehner’s effort to move House $260B highway bill lacks support

    Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday said he plans to pass the Senate highway bill after an 11th hour effort to take up the House bill this month faltered.

    “As I told the members yesterday, the current plan is to see what the Senate can produce and to bring their bill up,” Boehner told reporters at his weekly news conference Thursday.

    “In the meantime, we’re going to continue to have conversations with our members about a longer-term approach, which frankly most of our members want. But at this point in time, the plan is to bring up the Senate bill - or something like it.”

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