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EWG: Nadler Mass Transit Amendment Right on the Money

For Immediate Release: 
Wednesday, January 28, 2009

WASHINGTON –- New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler’s amendment to the House version of the stimulus package would boost federal investment in much-needed mass transit to $12 billion and make a major contribution to reviving the U.S. economy. The House today approved the Nadler amendment, which added $3 billion to the $9 billion originally proposed for mass transit infrastructure in the House version of the stimulus plan.

“With our need to create jobs, provide affordable transportation options and curb pollution, an increased investment in mass transit is critical to our economic recovery,” said Environmental Working Group senior analyst Dusty Horwitt. “Congressman Nadler’s amendment is an important step forward.”

Transportation spending has long been tilted toward highways and away from transit – and commuters have been the losers. Environmental Working Group has found that between 1998 and 2003, commuters in 176 metropolitan areas paid $20 billion more in federal gas taxes than they received in federal highway trust fund money for both transit and highways. Taxpayers in 54 metropolitan areas lost $100 million or more during that 6-year period.

EWG found that federal transportation funds were disproportionately spent on roadbuilding and sprawl in outlying areas rather than on transit in more populous areas. The stimulus package provides one opportunity to correct this imbalance.

“Despite the decline in gasoline prices, transit ridership has remained high because cash-strapped Americans need cost-effective transportation options,” Horwitt said. “Now we have the chance of a lifetime to expand transit so that millions more Americans have an affordable, energy-saving way to commute.”

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EWG is a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, DC that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment

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