PlanPhilly

Nutter decries GOP transportation plan

Mayor Nutter injected himself into the federal transportation funding fray last week, sending a letter to House Transportation and Infrastructure chairman John Mica decrying proposed funding cuts.

Mica, a Florida Republican, and other Republicans on the committee introduced earlier this month a six-year transportation reauthorization bill.

Federal transportation funding has been continuing under a series of stopgap measures since the previous six-year authorization expired in 2009.

Mica's plan would provide about $230 billion in funding for highways, roads, bridges and transit systems and avoids raising the gas tax or other fees that Congress has traditionally used to pay for transportation. It also promises to streamline the project funding process and inject private competition into mass transit services.

It would, however, represent a significant funding cut from the previous transportation bill, SAFETEA-LU, which spent $284 billion.

Nutter, in his July 12 letter, criticized that loss of money.

The “reduced funding levels and the implied movement of funds away from urban areas are of grave concern to me,” he wrote.

He added that Mica's proposal would reduce funding to Pennsylvania by $3.3 billion and could cause damage to cities by shifting funding formulas to bring more money to suburban and rural areas.

Suburban and rural transportation needs “should not be met by a shift in funding away from urban areas,” Nutter wrote, adding that the “Federal investment in urban transit systems is the most cost efficient use of Federal funds for transit.”

He also said the plan's emphasis on leveraging investment through public-private partnerships and finding efficiencies couldn't make up for the proposed cuts.

“Just like the Federal debt, a bill for the infrastructure deficit will come due,” Nutter warned, saying that failure to invest in infrastructure could hurt America's economic competitiveness.


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