WASHINGTON, DC – Edward Wytkind, President of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), offers the following statement in response to Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee approval of the Federal Public Transportation Act of 2012:
“The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee showed today that Democrats and Republicans can work together and agree on good public policy for transportation, recognizing that America needs a strong transit system as part of its multi-modal surface transportation program.
“This bill makes important progress in providing local transit agencies with the flexibility to use federal funds for certain operating expenses. This flexibility is crucial to help transit agencies avoid layoffs, service cuts, and fare increases that are plaguing systems around the country. We are also pleased that this bill rejects attempts to impose heavy-handed transit privatization mandates on states and instead correctly leaves these decisions to local authorities. This balanced approach stands in stark contrast to the partisan and ideological attacks on transit that we are seeing this week in the House of Representatives. While we believe that transit, like other aspects of our transportation system, are significantly underfunded and need a more robust and reliable funding stream, the bill does ensure that current funding levels will be maintained for two years.
“TTD appreciates the commitment shown by Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SC) and Ranking Member Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) to our public transportation system and in moving a two-year reauthorization through committee quickly. We especially applaud the efforts of Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), chairman of the key transportation subcommittee responsible for this bill, for all he did to help protect the jobs and rights of transit workers in this legislation.
“We look forward to working with the other Committees of jurisdiction to move a surface transportation reauthorization through the Senate so that it can be signed into law. Investing in our transit systems and other components of our surface transportation system is critical in putting Americans to work and getting our economy moving in the right direction.”
The Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, represents 32 member unions in the aviation, rail, transit, trucking, highway, longshore, maritime and related industries. For more information, visit www.ttd.org or on Facebook and Twitter.