Unrequited Transit Love
Los Angeles feels jilted. So jilted they decided to produce a nifty map showing the areas that received transit funding in the 2011 budget in blue and the areas that didn't in black. They're in the black.
The map, though a little misleading in its comparison of population and federal transit funds, provides a good look at all that black space where some new starts for transit will probably have to wait.
The L.A. County MTA accepts some of the blame, saying the projects it proposed were behind in the planning process. And the city did receive $500 million in New Starts funding last year. Nevertheless, they seem pretty unhappy that places with smaller populations like Aspen, Colorado, got a piece for a bus rapid transit project.
Transit advocates in Atlanta are also feeling burned, but the blame there has fallen on Governor Sonny Perdue and the state legislature, who according to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, failed to get their act together.
And though Seattle walked away with $110 million in New Starts funding for its light rail, their Governor Chris Gregoire has stepped in to block the Mayor's plan to turn two lanes of a planned bridge into bus rapid transit.
Honolulu won a $55 million grant for its light rail plan, after Gov. Linda Lingle had said she couldn't sign off on the project because the federal government thought the plan shaky. Woops.
Local governments keep calling out for more transit, but state governments and a federal budget partial to highways keep getting in the way. Even the transit-happy Obama administration has proposed a 4-to-1 ratio of highway-to-transit funds in its budget for a National Infrastructure Fund.
And so cities like L.A. and Atlanta get the brush-off this time around--not to mention Rep. Jim Oberstar, who has acknowledged that his plan to streamline the process and send money to metro areas is "dead in the water."