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VIDEO: Jaime Herrera Beutler Champions Increased Funding for Southwest Washington Buses

Jaime authors, successfully advances bipartisan amendment to federal transportation bill that will increase federal bus funding available to C-Tran, Southwest Washington transit agencies by $272 million annually

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Washington, November 4, 2015 | comments
Today, Jaime Herrera Beutler successfully amended the U.S. House’s federal transportation and infrastructure bill to make an average of $272 million in additional funding available annually to improve services to bus riders in Clark County and throughout Southwest Washington.
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Today, Jaime Herrera Beutler successfully amended the U.S. House’s federal transportation and infrastructure bill to make an average of $272 million in additional funding available annually to improve services to bus riders in Clark County and throughout Southwest Washington.

Jaime’s bipartisan amendment, also sponsored by Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Rick Larsen (D-WA), Dave Loebsack (D-IA) and Mike Turner (R-OH), was approved today by the U.S. House of Representatives and would eliminate a special carve out fund that benefits only seven Northeast states and add those dollars to the nationwide Competitive Bus Grant program for which all 50 states can compete. 

Prior to Jaime’s amendment, the U.S. House transportation bill provided the nationwide Competitive Bus Grant program with $90 million in 2016 and $200 million each year after – while carving out an average of $272 million a year for the separate fund dedicated to only those seven Northeast states . With Jaime’s amendment, those seven states are still eligible to compete for Competitive Bus Grant program funding.

The U.S. House is expected to pass its federal transportation funding bill tomorrow.

Click here to watch Jaime’s remarks

Jaime’s remarks in favor of expanding the nationwide Competitive Bus Grant program:
“Over 50% of all transit riders in the U.S. travel on buses but only 10% of our transit funding actually goes to buses. I’ll say that again, over half of the people in this country who use public transportation take buses to get to work, to the grocery store, to visit family, and yet the federal government dedicates less than 10% of its transit funds specifically to buses and to bus facilities. We’re selling communities short, communities like those in my home of Southwest Washington. But we have an opportunity to rectify that situation.

“While all 50 states can compete for funds through the nationwide Competitive Bus Grant program which is funded at $90 million in 2016 and $200 million each year after, a select few northeastern states get an additional $272 million pot to draw from. That’s right, Mr. Chairman, these ‘high density’ states – Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Delaware – have a special set aside pot of money for them that averages $90 million more a year than the nationwide pot all 50 states compete for. Oh, and those seven states still get to compete for that nationwide pot, too.

“It’s an issue of fairness Mr. Speaker. The idea that seven states have available to them more money than all 50 states combined isn’t fair to all of the communities in my state, or yours, or in the other 43 states. My amendment would simply move the funding from the seven-state set-aside into the Competitive Bus Grant program and allow all states to compete for these much-needed resources.”
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