Union encourages lawmakers to preserve public transit funding in highway bill

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Hanley said the Senate's version of the transportation bill "recognizes that a strong transit program must have direct funding to create and save jobs.

"It improves passenger safety and security, and assists in the development of a well trained workforce," Hanley said of the two-year, $109 billion transportation bill the Senate approved last month.

Hanley said it was important the final product of the conference retain those characteristics.

"With rising gas prices more and more people are getting out of their cars and using public transportation to get around," he said. "Yet transit systems are still cutting service and raising fares.

“It is time for the House and Senate to roll up their sleeves and make the tough decisions that need to be made during the conference by recognizing the Senate bill is the only option to help our country’s transit systems dig out of this economic crisis,” Hanley continued.

Lawmakers have said they could appoint conference negotiations on the highway bill as early as next week.

The current funding for transportation projects expires June 30, and the extension passed this week by the House would last until Sept. 30.