Amid state and federal wrangling over transportation funding, transit leaders meeting in Center City said growing public support should mean more money for trains, buses, and subways.
“The people of the nation are way ahead of some of their elected leaders,” Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff said Monday, citing a new survey for the American Public Transportation Association that showed 74 percent of respondents supported using tax dollars to “create, expand and improve public transportation.” That was up from 69 percent last year.
In Washington and Harrisburg, lawmakers are debating how to pay for mass transit as well as highways and bridges. Transit agencies, which typically get at least half of their budgets from taxpayers, are lobbying for increases to replace outdated equipment and vehicles and to bring derelict systems into a state of good repair.
A vote is expected this week in the Pennsylvania state Senate on a transportation-funding bill that would increase the gas tax on wholesalers (who likely would pass it on to motorists at the pump), and raise most vehicle fees and fines for traffic violations. The measure would produce about $2.5 billion in additional transportation funding after three years, according to its sponsor, Senate transportation chairman John Rafferty (R., Montgomery).