Update on Transportation Bill – Call with Senator LaTourette


Last week, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) organized a conference call where Senator LaTourette of Ohio, participated to give APTA members an update on the transportation bills. LaTourette had little else to share other than that there was no agreement between the House and Senate bills, nor was there consensus on how to fund transit. He stated that a dedicated funding source is critical to transit as it allows agencies to match federal funds and multiply it to benefit communities. If transit agencies are subject to annual appropriations, the Senator feels that agencies will not be able to operate feasibly and this may hurt service. According to APTA staff, here is where the bills stand:

Overall House Reauthorization

  • Stalled because it simply doesn't have the votes, even when splitting the package into three parts
  • Unknown future, but movement seems to be in the direction of 2 years
  • Indications that transit will be moved back into the trust fund
  • Overall funding levels in this new environment are critical and not known

Overall Senate Reauthorization

  • Somewhat stalled by "non-germane" amendments that could slow the process
  • Finance discussion revealed some support for indexing gas tax
  • Lack of Bus Capital program a significant problem
  • Still moving in a bi-partisan environment

At this point, the best bet remains the ninth extension of SAFETEA-LU through the election, where depending upon the outcome, surface transportation reauthorization could once again emerge in either the lame-duck session (Nov. '12-Dec '12) or in January 2013.


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