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Ray LaHood: Peoria transit needs help!

As Transportation Secretary-designate Ray LaHood prepares for his confirmation hearing tomorrow, Illinois PIRG is highlighting the budget crisis at the Greater Peoria Mass Transit District in LaHood’s home town — and the failure of the proposed economic stimulus bill to include direct assistance for local transit authorities.

Nationally, many local transit authorities are facing severe budgetary problems.  In Peoria, a $3 million shortfall could force the firing of over a third of the transit district’s workforce.  But in an economic recovery proposal released by the House Appropriations Committee last week, a proposal from the House Transportation Committee to provide $2 billion to local transit authorities to prevent layoffs and fare hikes was eliminated.

“There’s not a dime in the estimated $825 billion package to help local transit authorities avoid severe cutbacks at a time when ridership is at an all-time high,” said Brian Imus of Illinois PIRG.  “And the proposal fails to ensure that any of the $30 billion proposed for highways would create jobs that fix our crumbling bridges and highways. As it stands, every cent of the $30 billion could be spent on building new, unnecessary highways that will only increase our dependence on foreign oil.”

He urged senators to press the matter at the hearing.

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Category: economy, transition, transportation

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