Emergency Transportation Funding Bill Introduced in Congress

By Lindsey Miller in News on May 26, 2010 8:40PM

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Photo by fotomattic.
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin joined seven other senators yesterday to introduce a bill, the Public Transportation Preservation Act of 2010, that would provide $2 billion in emergency funding to transit agencies nationwide to reverse fare increases and service cuts.

It turns out Chicago isn't the only city in the country that has suffered increasingly unreliable service and rising fares in recent years - not to mention extensive layoffs. In fact, the American Public Transportation Association estimates that 84 percent of public transit systems have either raised fares, cut service, or considered doing one of the two since January 1, 2009. Transportation for America has a graphical representation of the cuts across the country.

"Nearly two million daily riders and more than 15,000 employees in the Chicago area have been impacted by budget shortfalls caused by the recession," Durbin said yesterday. "Today's bill will help Chicago and thirteen other transit agencies across Illinois avoid layoffs and prevent drastic service cuts and fare hikes this summer."

Chicago's bus and rail worker unions certainly support the bill - they were calling for more funding to fix the problem all along. If you support the bill, Transportation for America has a nifty online form you can use to tell your senators.

The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs yesterday. So we wait.