Hope for Transit Operations?

Congressional surface transportation chair Jim Oberstar is reported by Streetsblog to be in support of allowing Federal formula funds for transit to be used for operations, not just capital.

Interestingly, APTA (the association of transit agencies) has historically been opposed to this.

Now perhaps if Congress offered additional funds for operations…


14 responses to “Hope for Transit Operations?”

  1. Why in the world would the bought off congress want to help any actual citizen of this great country of ours?

    Just move to Portland and buy a bike, forget transit, completely.

    (forget automobiles too, they gonna gouge you on gas anyway)

  2. My concern is most of the riding public sees “operating expenses” as synonymous with “revenue service,” but it isn’t.

  3. What is the social benefit of subsidizing car drivers? They are much more heavily subsidized than transit riders.

  4. Mark Mullins Says: What is the social benefit of subsidizing car drivers? They are much more heavily subsidized than transit riders.
    JK: No they aren’t. Transit riders are massively subsidized, cars only slightly or no subsidy.

    For federal data saying road users pay MORE than they use, see: http://www.portlandfacts.com/roadsubsidy.htm

    For a peer-reviewed article saying that road users are slightly subsidized and transit user are massively subsidized see: http://www.portlandfacts.com/delucchi_chart.htm

    If you want to talk about Portland’s road spending, back out bike lanes, bubble curbs, transit accommodations etc from road costs before you take PDOT data seriously and don’t forget to count road user taxes passed on to PDOT from state & federal taxes.

    Finally transit uses MORE foreign oil to transport each person each mile than a smell car, so if one follows that line of argument, one must conclude that advocating that people switch to small cars instead of switching to transit because small cars are also cheaper, more convenient and faster. You can see links to proof of each of these claims on the main page of PortlandFacts.


  5. We’re drifting off of the primary topic which is the concept of federal help for operating funds for local transit agencies.

    While I appreciate JK’s consistency in questioning the very fundamentals of the idea of public transit nearly every time the topic is discussed in any way (with, to put it politely, much-debated “proof”), that’s really not the primary focus of this blog.

    Similarly, were the topic temporary federal operating funds for public libraries, it would be inappropriate to dwell for too long as to whether libraries are any good at all. It’s helpful to explore those fundamentals once in awhile, but when constantly it only serves as a distraction.

  6. [Moderator: Sorry Al, the link you provided was off-topic and really more about JK’s politics than transportation issues, so the comment has been removed. – Bob R.]

  7. Clarification point:

    JK’s stats are for federal subsidies/spending, not federal, state, and local combined. This is misleading.



    Regarding this topic, is getting funds from federal sources for operation budgets the best idea? Won’t transit agencies ask for any money w/o questioning or prioritizing their services first?

    We’re all hurting for money, afterall.

  8. JK: Clarification point:
    That fhwa chart shows a total subsidy of about 1.1 cents per passenger mile compared to transit’s subsidy of about 60 cents per passenger mile. For details see: http://ti.org/antiplanner/?p=2199

    It is that 60c/pm that the federal subsidy would help pay for since the users are reluctant to pay their own cost.

    (Bob, sorry if this is off topic, but I am only defending my previous statement.)


  9. We’re all hurting for money, afterall.

    ~~>That sure as hell ain’t the truth! The “executive” class of our country and the world in general are doing quite well right now.

  10. JK:

    Your link assumes a much higher number dollar value for user-fee being generated (which is very debatable) and does not factor in externalized costs.

    About 65% of highway (internal) costs are covered by user fees. That is a fact that people understand.

    Putting that figure into “passenger miles” makes little sense to the consumer considering there were about 4 trillion passenger miles for autos and passenger mile statistic is not very accurate imo as it assumes an average passenger per vehicle figure (vehicle miles is pretty accurate).

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