Rev. Jackson Attends Houston Rally

Civil rights leader Reverend Jessie Jackson was in Houston this afternoon speaking on behalf of mass transit workers. Jackson and union leaders are asking Congress to change the rules regarding how federal transportation dollars can be used. Bill Stamps explains.

Jessie Jackson and labor leaders are on a nationwide tour they’re calling Save Our Ride. They’ve been to Atlanta, Detroit, Cleveland, San Francisco and Sacramento. Jackson says the situation is the same in most cities.

“In every city we’ve visited, we’ve seen drivers being laid off and services being cut and fares being rasied. Basically hurting poor people disproportionately.”

They’re asking Congress to let cities use federal transportation dollars in anyway they want. Currently, big cities with more than 200-thousand people can’t use the money on salaries or people. The money must go towards capital improvements like new buses, equipment, etc. Harry Lambardo is vice president of the transport workers union. He says buying more vehicles doesn’t always makes sense.

“In lieu of buying a bus that doesn’t have a driver, keep the service. Don’t cut the service, don’t raise the fares. Let the local transit authorities and planners decide how to use that money.”

While other cities may be suffering, Houston is still going on with plans to add more light-rail lines. Lombardo says even though we may be better off in Texas, Houstonians should still ask Congress to change the law.

Bill Stamps, KUHF News.