Fixing the House bill: Cutting regulatory burdens and bureaucracy

There are many issues that need to be addressed in the House’s transportation bill, including two provisions that result in unneeded redundancy, bureaucracy and regulatory burdens for our country’s transit systems and freight movement.

The initial House bill proposed eliminating all dedicated funding for public transportation, ending a bipartisan agreement that’s been in place since 1982. Though the current rumor is that the House will restore that funding after massive opposition from across the country, other provisions are still in place that will cut funds from larger transit agencies, create unneeded bureaucracy, and also result in a fragmented system of moving freight.

Under H.R. 7, transit providers that operate both bus and rail services would be barred from a program used to buy buses or build bus facilities.

The ironic consequence, under a bill advertised as reducing streamlining bureaucracy, is that large transit agencies — rather than forego $900 million in aid — would be forced to split into separate rail and bus agencies.

Rep. Gerold Nadler, who represents part of New York City, pointed this out during the markup of the bill in the House Transportation Committee, a fact that no one quite seemed to realize up to that point. It wouldn’t prevent large transit agencies from getting these grants for bus service, it would just employ a host of lawyers, he said, as every large U.S. transit agency like New York’s MTA splits into two agencies.