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Statement of Serena Unrein, Public Interest Advocate for the Arizona Public Interest Research Group (Arizona PIRG), on the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee surface transportation bill to fund all federal investment in transportation over the next five years (H.R. 3864):
“The House Ways and Means Committee proposal to deprive transit of a dedicated funding source is a reckless move that would take America in exactly the wrong direction.
“America should be committing to reduce our dependence on oil, not reducing our commitment to more efficient, oil-saving modes of transportation. If you were to dream up legislation to maximize America’s addiction to oil, it would look pretty much like this. Make no mistake: this move would cut public transportation out of the federal budget.
“The House Ways and Means Bill stops just short of defunding America’s public transit system. Instead it says that the real money with a funding source will all go to highways, while the tooth fairy will pay for transit. For Big Oil and the highway lobby, this is a dream, but it’s a nightmare for America’s transportation future.
“Earlier this week the House Transportation committee introduced legislation to slash funding for forward-thinking transportation investment by nixing the successful TIGER program and eliminating high-speed rail entirely. These cuts would impede 21st century transportation projects that reduce traffic, foster economic development, and provide more transportation choices for the public. It promises to pay for much of the bill through increased volumes of oil drilling, even though those fees could not possibly be generated for several years.
“America needs a real transportation act. It’s sad that these bills appear to be nothing more than political posturing rather than an effort to truly move our transportation system forward.”
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