Congress proposes slashing transit funding while continuing handouts to Big Oil

Jul 8, 2011
By Rebecca

Since I don't own a car, it might not be intuitive that gas prices have a huge impact on my daily life. However, I ride the bus to work several days a week, and that bus runs on gas; a whole lot of gas.

As gas prices have risen over the past several years, public transportation agencies have been hit hard. I live in Oakland and my local transit agency, AC Transit, has been forced to raise fares twice and cut service multiple times. When I was looking for a new place to live a year ago, I found the cutest little cottage in the Oakland foothills. It had a beautiful garden and seemed perfect. Luckily, I follow the issue of public transportation closely, because after doing some research I found out that the only bus line that served that home was about to be cut.

I got lucky, but I know many others who have had to rearrange their lives after their bus lines were cut or severely reduced. And my friends who drive to work don't have it much easier.

But with the rising cost of gas, there's been one huge winner. These increased gas prices have led to record profits for Big Oil companies, yet they inexplicably continue to receive billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded subsidies.

At the same time, it's been 646 days and counting since the last transportation bill expired, and the main sticking point has been that there's not enough money to fund a new transportation bill.

This week, our Senator Barbara Boxer introduced a transportation funding bill that slightly increases funding, but her counterpart in the House, Representative John Mica introduced a proposal that severely cuts transportation funding!

Rep. Mica isn't an anti-transit Republican, but he is adamant that there's not enough revenue to fund transportation.

As Congress scrambles for transportation revenue and considers further drastic cuts to infrastructure and services, the big five oil companies -- BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Shell -- have enjoyed more than $900 billion in profits.

These profitable oil companies benefit from more than $4 billion in special tax breaks every year, while transit continues to suffer nationwide.

Enough is enough. Right now, our friends at the national League of Conservation Voters are fighting back. Join them in taking action - call on Congress to end Big Oil handouts.

While the end of oil subsidies would not solve our nation's transportation funding problems, it would be a big step in the right direction. If Congress gets its priorities straight, in the future local agencies like AC Transit and transit agencies nationwide could restore service instead of continuing to cut it.




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