“So 11 billion to pay for cars for the rich (it’s a tax break, the more you earn, and the more expensive the car, the more we, the taxpayers, pay), but nothing for maintaining mass transit for the rest of us.
I thought the Democrats won.”
I support some sort of Detroit bailout directly connected to preserving jobs, not through make-work, but through productive uses – perhaps making more fuel efficient cars (and making them cheaper), or retooling to build more buses and trains. But whatever one thinks of the car manufacturers, the profound underfunding of mass transit is terrible.
Ongoing operations are being cut and costs to commuters (including in Illinois) are on the rise – see Transportation for America’s Transit Cuts Google Map/article.
Currently there’s a Barbara Boxer/James Inhofe $50 billion amendment out for highways that would bring the total for highways to around $80 billion of the stimulus. Meanwhile mass transit is struggling to get in the range of $13 – 15 billion. For perspective, I’ve personally identified over $8 billion (and this number may rise substantially with some additional data I’m adding) in *just* rail projects ready to go in a year or less (some within 90 days) that exceed $5 million per project (i.e. they are relatively major). Rail, because of historic underfunding and longer mandated development requirements, is a very small subset of all mass transit. Chicago’s CTA alone estimates it could use over $4.3 billion for rail (although most is not “shovel ready” within 90 days) – and could spend $500 million on projects ready to go in 90 days (rail and bus). Funding mass transit projects will create good jobs, develop key infrastructure with lasting positive economic benefits and aid America in reducing the ills of traffic congestion (cost, pollution and stress).
The stimulus package can be anything, including stupid. America deserves better than that. We need a smart stimulus package that includes serious funding for mass transit. Click this link and tell your U.S. Senators that you want substantial stimulus money used for mass transit!