Mass Transit

DEC 2014 -JAN 2015

Mass Transit magazine features agency profiles, industry trends, management tips and new product information.

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FEDERAL FUNDING 20 | Mass Transit | | DECEMBER 2014/JANUARY 2015 TRANSPORTATION MACHINERY & EQUIPMENT SPECIALISTS Toll Free: (800) 325-0296 Fax: (770) 458-5365 e-mail: 3731 Northcrest Road • Suite 6 Atlanta, GA 30340 • B-Maxi S - 110 tons • B-Maxi M - 220 tons • B-Maxi L - 330 tons • B-Maxi XL - 770 tons OUR FLEET OF BATTERY POWERED RAILCAR MOVERS Railquip is your specialty source for: • Portable Hydraulic Rerailing Equipment • Locked Axle Dollies • Car and Locomotive Maintenance Shop Equipment • Trucks and Bus Maintenance Shop Equipment • Maintenance of Way Equipment and Supplies For more information, visit Te bottom line is that transit advo- cates must waste no time in getting to know the new committee leadership and their staf and making a continued case for the growth and preservation of the federal transit program. Will the new Republican Congress give momentum to the devolution movement or to eliminate the mass transit account from the highway trust fund? Te devolution movement — the notion of eliminating most or all of the federal sur- face transportation program and returning most of the gas tax receipts to the states to let them take care of their own transporta- tion needs — has been slowly gaining sup- porters among the most conservative mem- bers of Congress. Indeed, even incoming Ways & Means Chairman Ryan has been at least open to considering such a move. I will leave the philosophical and constitu- tional debates on the federal government's appropriate role in supporting our nation's surface transportation infrastructure to the intellectuals. However, most transportation and transit advocates agree this could have disastrous consequences for transportation investment levels and any hopes of de- veloping a strong, multi-modal national transportation system. Te real question is, now that the Congress is more frmly in Republican control, will the devolution movement gain steam? To those who take a "sky is falling" approach toward this issue, I would say that this worst-case scenario is still highly unlikely. While the move- ment may gain more support, there are still too many Democrats, suburban Re- publicans and more importantly, "donee states" — those that receive more federal gas tax dollars than they receive under the current federal formulas — to allow this idea to take a foothold. A more worrisome scenario is the potential elimination of the mass transit portion of the high- way trust fund. As many transit profes- sionals will remem- ber, this very real scenario was pushed by a number of House Republicans during the debate over MAP-21. For a bit of background, 2.86 cents of every gallon of gas pur- chased goes into the mass transit account of the highway trust fund, which funds about 80 percent of the federal transit program. Tis all but guar- anteed stream of funding has for decades stabilized federal transit funding levels and until recently, allowed steady growth. In 2012, as a proposed solution to stabilize the highway trust fund, House Republicans introduced a transportation Highway Trust Fund 80% of the funding for the federal transit program comes from the mass transit account: 2.86¢ of every gallon of gas purchased

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