Two Action Alerts to Improve Stimulus Package for Transit Today

Bus_or_Truck.jpgWhich one gets the stimulus money?

NACTO Action Alert

We’ve all been disappointed with the tiny margin of transit funding in the $825 billion Obama stimulus package, what amounts to only 1% of the total, despite the fact that 80% of us live in metropolitan regions and transit ridership is booming.  Meanwhile highway expansion and maintenance projects will get three times that amount in the stimulus plan, speeding us down the road to business-as-usual American oil dependence and ever longer commutes.

Fortunately a House amendment has been introduced to committee by Representative Jerry Nadler of New York City (PDF) that would add $3 billion in transit capital investment.  Shamefully, there is pressure to keep this amendment from reaching the floor for a vote.

The National Assoctiation of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) has urged Obama to make the right decision to fund transit (PDF) and now requests all interested parties to call congressional leadership today before 3 pm EST (House Rules Committee vote) to voice support for the Nadler amendment. 

Two important targets represent us in the Bay Area and need to hear your voice:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – (202) 225-4965

Appropriations Committee Member Barbara Lee – (202) 225-2661 (will Barbara Lee Speak for Me??)

Also important to call Rules Committee Chair Louise M. Slaughter (202) 225-3615

Can you help us generate at least 20 calls to each today?  Please leave comments below and let us know how they responded.

Talking Points:

* Transit is the future of our nation’s metropolitan regions which represent 80% of the US population.  Public transit ridership has been surging over the last year, but instead of capitalizing on the public demand for more and better transit, cities are being forced to curtail service and cut jobs. 

* The Nadler amendment should be allowed to reach the House floor for a vote.  It is a chance to truly strengthen the Recovery bill, which has overlooked the economic and energy benefits of transit infrastructure which currently will only see 1% of the stimulus investment funds. 

* Discuss the transit need in your city and the fact that federal resources for transit can absolutely be spent within the time frames set out by the bill.  House leadership in particular need to hear the case for transit.  The white house is pushing them to make no changes.  The leadership needs to hear from the cities about why these amendments are critical.

TransForm Action Alert

As you know, President
Obama is working with Congress to quickly pass a Federal Economic
Recovery Bill. Tragically, neither the Senate nor House versions of the
bill include funding for transit operations.

We have a tiny window of opportunity to change this – with your help.

Senate is still taking proposed amendments until the end of the day today, January 27.  That means you need to call Senators Boxer and
Feinstein by 2pm Tuesday, Jan 27 (5pm Eastern time).

It’s easy – we even wrote a script for you.

Senator Boxer: (202) 224-3553,  followed by 1 to leave a comment

Senator Feinstein: (202) 224-3841  

Sample script:

my name is _______. I’m calling to urge Senator ____ to include funding
for transit operations in the Senate’s economic recovery bill so that
we protect good, already-existing jobs and ensure people have
affordable transportation choices."

Thanks for helping to win world-class public transportation and walkable communities!

If you want more info on this campaign, visit



Carli Paine, Transportation Program Director
(Formerly TALC, the Transportation and Land Use Coalition)

Flickr photo: Thomas Hawk


House Lawmakers Hail Transportation Stimulus — But Add Three Caveats

At a House transportation committee hearing today that marked the one-year anniversary of the Obama administration’s economic recovery efforts, lawmakers offered praise for the stimulus law’s impact on local infrastructure investments even as they hit upon three key areas of concern with its implementation. The Port of Los Angeles was shut out of the stimulus’ […]

AASHTO Stimulus Report Omits Jobs Data Comparing Transit With Roads

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the trade group representing state DOTs in Washington, yesterday unveiled a website and report billed as a one-year "progress report" on the White House’s $34.3 billion in formula-based transportation stimulus spending. (Photo: WBEZ) AASHTO’s report, citing data furnished to Congress, noted that 77 percent of […]

SPUR Evening Symposium: The Federal Stimulus Plan, One Year Later

"In February of 2009, as dour economic conditions threatened to worsen unabated, President Obama warned that massive government intervention was necessary to prevent "a much deeper economic downturn." Congress responded with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a $787 billion federal stimulus package. Did it work? A year later, Dan Bernal, District Director for Speaker […]

Freight Rail, Streetcars Are Tops in Stimulus’ TIGER Chase

The Obama administration today announced the winners of $1.5 billion stimulus in highly competitive stimulus grants under the program known as Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER. Southeastern and midwestern freight rail projects were the day’s biggest winners, with urban streetcar projects also making a big splash. Freight rail in Chicago, where the CREATE […]