A transportation train wreck

There is a litany of reasons why this bill is disastrous, but chief among them is the attempt to deprive transit systems of a dedicated and reliable stream of funding. Under current law, the Mass Transit Account of the Highway Trust Fund receives 2.86 cents for every gallon of gasoline purchased. While insufficient to meet the growing needs of our nation's mass-transit systems, this dedicated stream of funding provides certainty to states and transit authorities so that they can plan, borrow and build in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible. The House Republican bill; however, would change all of this by eliminating this dedicated revenue stream and making less money available for mass-transit.

For my constituents, and millions of Americans, these are serious and potentially detrimental changes. Without a predictable stream of funding, the MTA will have a harder time raising capital for new projects, which in turn will raise the cost of borrowing and limit their ability to build and maintain their infrastructure. This will lead to fewer capital projects and construction jobs, and also to higher fares on older trains and buses. The consequences of these cuts on urban areas such as Queens and the Bronx are readily apparent. However, what most don't realize is that this bill is equally bad for cities like Auburn, Oriskany and Hornell. Cuts to mass-transit are cuts to these communities as well.

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What's clear is this situation is not unique to New York. Factories across the country are turning their lights on and adding shifts for the first time in years. Private-sector job growth in cities has been encouraging as well. Mass-transit is essential to both of these trends as it literally and figuratively gets people to work.

Congress must do right by our constituents and by our country and oppose H.R. 7 and its dangerous cuts to mass-transit.

Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) serves on the Committee on Ways and Means