MBTA financial position could worsen even more if House Republicans get their way

A proposal backed by Republican leadership in Congress would remove money from the federal gasoline tax that now goes to public-transit systems, including the MBTA.

The Republican proposal would put the money that now goes to mass transit - under a law enacted under Ronald Reagan - into road repair and construction. Republicans claim they would then try to win passage of a one-time $40-billion appropriation over five years for subways, commuter rail and bus services, but have yet to say how they would actually pay for that.

According to the MBTA, the regional transportation system received $224 million in federal grants this year (and is required to match 20% of that). State transportation officials are currently conducting hearings on proposals to drastically cut commuter-rail and bus service and raise fares at least 35% to make up a $161 million deficit anticipated for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

At issue is not just immediate funding, but long-term capital projects, whose interest costs depend in part on assurances of reliable long-term revenues, according to transit officials in the Chicago area, who have been particularly vocal in opposing the measure - but who also have some districts represented by Republicans. Congressmen in New York also opposed the proposal.

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Comments

I read the Salon article

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I read the Salon article (beware, much hyperbole) and followed links within. My take is this will go the way of the Protect IP Act and I really don't think this will go far. I found the article hard to get through though..

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Agreed

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The House Republicans are starting lots of bills that have (a) no chance to pass the Senate and (b) no chance of being signed by the President.

This sort of thing is best ignored, absent some reason to think this might actually become law.

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Grand Old Pusbucket

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No, the House's "transportation bill" was actually a "posture and break wind for an election year bill" that had no intention of actually passing (it's just a'sittin there on Capitol Hill). The Senate is actually pushing forward a bipartisan, good faith effort at a two year transportation bill.

So the House thing might very well never make it to the floor for a vote if old Oompa-Loompa-Cry-Baby thinks he can't goose enough of his own party to vote for it (sucks when you remove those earmarks, don't it?).

Buuuutttt, (and you knew there was one) if this thing is not roundly aborted and flushed down the lou, the language will still be sitting around after the elections and they'll pick up where they left off on it. So it's important that your relatives and friends in other states call their Representatives and tell them to nuke that bill or they will personally go down to their district offices and pinch a loaf on their desks. Luckily we don't have to do that here as our boring-ass delegation is made up of a bunch of dope-smoking, T-riding hippies.

Now getting Senator Browncoat to support the Mass-favoring Senate bill is something worth doing...

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Shall we "pinch a loaf" on Obama's desk too?

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a "posture and break wind for an election year bill" that had no intention of actually passing (it's just a'sittin there on Capitol Hill).

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Kind of like Obama's $3.8 trillion budget that even CNN and Harry Reid admit is a joke? Shall we "pinch a loaf" on Obama's desk too?

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Pinch away...

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...I certainly won't stop you. I'll even get you a roll of whatever it is they advertize with puppies, little kids and cartoon bears...

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I dunno, makes sense to me

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Why should people in Idaho or Montana have to pay for the T? Or the Big Dig for that matter? Seems reasonable to ask people here to actually pay the costs of the infrastructure they use with their own gas tax, or sales tax, or whatever.

Before you get all huffy, think about how awesome this would be applied across the board. We wouldn't have had to pay for the Robert C. Byrd highway system in West Virginia. Yes, he did get it named after himself while he was still alive and in the senate -- essentially a set of free campaign posters up and down the entire state.

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Eisenhower...

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...farts in your general direction.

I don't like war, can I just not pay for that either? What's that? But having unending war around the globe makes me safer? Cool. Having a functional transportation system in this country also benefits me as well, so I should probably pay into that too.

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Lotsa

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colorectal references tonight...shouldn't have all that fiber.

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Ripple Effect

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Without public transit lower Manhattan has no immigrants to make lunches for the Wall Street traders that the Idahoans and Montanans need to get that .5% growth on their 401k's so they can retire when they're 80-- without the 1 train the whole system breaks down

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You Funny

Idaho and Montana pay for the T? Really?

Um, please go look up what percentages of tax dollars paid in get returned by state ... MA pays a lot in, gets far less out ... and states like ID and MT (and pretty much the entire Southeast) are fricking welfare queens living it up at our expense.

Facts - not just for breakfast anymore!

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Something I read yesterday

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I can't remember which article it was in (might have been a column in the Atlantic or Politico), but not only do these places take in more welfare, but the people who DON'T get welfare in those states are unreasonably naive about how much they need welfare in their state.

One of the scenarios they give is a rich doctor in Florida who might be super conservative and feels like social programs like welfare and Medicare/Medicaid should be reduced to stop what he sees as the slovenly entitlement class in poor boroughs in big cities like NYC and Boston. But it's ACTUALLY his state that's taking more of that money...to let his patients afford to pay for his well-to-do lifestyle in Florida! Or the fast food chain owner in Mississippi who thinks the liberal commies should stop giving out food stamps to inner city mothers who buy extravagances like lottery tickets and steak instead of ground beef...but doesn't realize the only reason he's still in business is because of the welfare rolling into his state that keeps his patrons able to afford his crappy dollar menu.

Basically, these social programs are keeping the bottom from falling out of major sections of the economy so that the guys at the middle in these areas (not even the top) can still pretend like those programs shouldn't exist and blame the president for the only thing that's keeping them from needing the very social programs they blame him for caring about! It's vicious stupidity and naivete.

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Bingo!

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Thanks. I actually wrote Slate before I wrote Politico but changed it for some reason before I hit Post.

Your last name isn't Yglesius is it? If so, sorry I couldn't remember the reference correctly. Nice article. :)

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Looks like someone got huffy

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Looks like someone got huffy before hitting the end of the post!

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This kind of "I dunno" comment

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appears more and more regularly in just about every debate these days. Is this a libertarian thing? A reflection of the loss of civics education in our public schools? A really bad joke?

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As long as I can choose not

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As long as I can choose not for my taxes to subsidize Montana, then I think that's fine. I'm pretty sure that Massachusetts wins that deal hands down, given the disparity in wealth between the two states.

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Because we pay for their

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Because we pay for their schools and roads, and I don't mean that remotely facetiously: Massachusetts gets about seventy cents on the dollar back from federal taxes we pay. Idaho and Montana, according to the last bit of data from 2005, get $1.20 for every dollar collected and $1.47, respectively.

Basically, the Tea Party wants us to give them our tax dollars so they can spend it on themselves while telling us what to do in our private lives. This is just another manifestation of that.

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