WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after an his amendment prohibiting any funds from being used for the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) proposed Rapid Growth Area Transit Program successfully passed the House and was attached to H.R. 2577, the Fiscal Year 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act:
“With significant infrastructure needs, including road and bridge maintenance, now is not the time to be spending $500 million on a new discretionary bus transit program. In recent years, more and more resources have been sucked out of the highway trust fund and diverted to wasteful and unnecessary transit projects that only benefit a small fraction of Americans.
“Despite millions of dollars continuing to be pumped into utopian projects attempting to recreate a European style transit system, the bottom line is traffic congestion continues to worsen. The Highway Trust Fund is on the brink of insolvency yet the president wants to waste half a billion dollars on new buses for a few urban communities. I’m pleased my colleagues in the House joined me today in affirming that construction projects for our nation’s porous infrastructure system are more important than an expensive, new discretionary grant program that will do little or nothing to reduce congestion .”
The administration’s fiscal year 2016 budget request included $500 million for the Federal Transit Administration’s proposed Rapid Growth Area Transit Program, a new discretionary grant program for buses directed at fast-growing communities.
A recent economic analysis found: “Over the past few decades, lawmakers have diverted more trust fund resources…thus starving general purpose roads of funds. Transit—including light rail, trolleys, and buses—marks the largest diversion. In 2010 alone, it received 17 percent, or $6 billion, of federal highway user fees, even though it accounted for only about 1 percent of the nation’s surface travel. Despite receiving a portion of federal user fees for decades, transit has failed to reduce traffic congestion or even maintain its share of urban travel. For example, between 1983 and 2010, traffic volumes in the nation’s 51 major metropolitan areas increased by 87 percent, peak travel times in those areas increased by 125 percent, and transit’s share of passenger miles fell by one-fourth.”
Contact: Steven D. Smith
Steven.Smith (at) mail.house (dot) gov