Transit industry wants $11B annual funding increase

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is recommending that Congress increase its funding of transit systems in the U.S. by $11.5 billion per year.

The association announced on Tuesday at its annual conference in Washington, D.C., that it was proposing that Congress approve $100.4 billion in new public transportation spending when the current funding for road and transit projects runs out this fall.

The current congressional surface transportation bill is scheduled to expire in September, and the trust fund that pays for most of its infrastructure initiatives is projected to go bankrupt as soon as August.

APTA President Michael Melaniphy said the funding for transit systems should be increased in the new round of transportation funding that Congress is debating now.


Lew argues tax increases in budget promote economic growth

Senate Republicans questioned the level of the Obama administration’s tax hikes proposed in its fiscal 2015 budget, arguing that they could sap energy from economic growth. 

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) expressed concern that the "steep tax increases" on investment income could weigh down economic growth and negate the benefit of $71 billion in additional revenue.


Wyden, Lew vow to 'economically, politically isolate' Russia

New Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said his panel is looking down many economic avenues to convince Russia to step back from its move into Crimea. 

In his first hearing as the head of the committee, Wyden said his committee is "now looking at every possible economic lever to pressure Russia to step back from its unprovoked incursion into Crimea."


DOT chief: Increase, not 'level off,' highway funding

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Thursday that lawmakers should stop focusing on trying to refill the trust fund that pays for road and transit projects.

Instead, Foxx said in a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, lawmakers should train their efforts on coming up with a new funding source for transportation projects altogether. 

"For years, our national dialogue has focused on how to get the Highway Trust Fund leveled off," Foxx said. "To translate that into business terms, we’ve been trying to reach the same level of sales revenue and expenditures as the last year instead of growing revenue and expenditures to meet customer demand."