‘Cash for Clunkers’ Backer Sutton Steps it Up for Ohio Transit

Rep. Betty Sutton (D-OH) was one of the prime movers behind the economically and environmentally misguided "cash for clunkers" program, but she is switching gears to help save transit in Lorain County, Ohio, where bus service could be canceled in 2010 after voters rejected a sales tax increase to raise operating funds.

betty_sutton_energy.jpgRep. Betty Sutton (D-OH) (Photo: OHP)

The local Chronicle-Telegram newspaper reports that Sutton is seeking approval from congressional leaders for the county to reprogram $1.5 million in unspent stimulus money:

Sutton sent letters this week to David Obey, D-Wis., chairman of the
U.S. House Committee on Appropriations, and Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., who
chairs the U.S. House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure,
seeking approval for LCT to use $1.5 million in untapped American
Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 funds to operate the bus system.

“We hope new appropriations bills can be OK’d by year’s end that
will let us use this unspent capital money,” Cordes said. “We’re trying
to avert a total shutdown.”

Officials have said it is vital for the county to maintain some form
of public transportation to remain eligible for federal transportation
funds.

The inability of many localities to spend federal aid on transit
operating costs — thus creating jobs for drivers, maintenance workers,
and other day-to-day staff — has left many rail and bus networks
facing punishing service cuts.

Congress agreed
in June to let states use 10 percent of their stimulus grants for
operating assistance, but Sutton’s move could open the door for that
number to increase in the coming weeks.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

STREETSBLOG USA

GAO: Economic Recovery Benefits of ‘Cash for Clunkers’ Are ‘Uncertain’

|
"Cash for clunkers," the White House’s much-touted program encouraging trade-ins for more fuel-efficient autos, had an "uncertain" impact on economic recovery, according to a new audit from the independent Government Accountability Office (GAO) — largely because it remains unclear how many of the car sales it spurred would have occurred without taxpayer subsidies. Were "clunker" […]
STREETSBLOG USA

Brookings: “Cash for Clunkers” Wasn’t Worth It

|
Turns out paying people to buy cars isn’t a great policy for the economy or the environment. That’s the determination of a pair of Brookings Institution researchers who evaluated the effectiveness of the 2009 Cash for Clunkers program. The $2.85 billion program, part of President Obama’s economic stimulus package, produced only 2,050 “job-years,” according to researchers […]

House Quickly Sends $2 Billion More to ‘Cash for Clunkers’

|
The "cash for clunkers" rebate program, which promises new auto buyers up to $4,500 for fuel-efficiency upgrades as small as 2 miles per gallon, is back to life after burning through $1 billion in taxpayer cash. Minutes ago, the House approved $2 billion more in auto rebates by transferring cash that was already headed for […]