Transportation Secretary Touts Mobility Funding Overhaul

Houston would have more of a say on how money is spent for local transit projects under a proposed overhaul of the federal transportation funding system.

US Transportation Secretary Mary Peters was in Houston today touting a Bush administration proposal known as the Metropolitan Mobility Program. It would streamline the funding process and move more federal dollars to big cities that actually need help in improving mobility.

image of speaker, click here for audio“Under our plan, local officials will be free to make investments based on their most pressing transportation needs, not on the most pressing earmark issues coming out of Washington. They can spend that money, whether it’s a new highway or an expanded transit system, right here in the Houston area. Projects will receive funding based on economic merit, not on political influence.”

Congress is expected to consider the proposal before it votes on new transportation funding next September. Congressman Al Green says he’ll seek bi-partisan support for the plan.

image of speaker, click here for audio“Unfortunately Houston hasn’t been on the rail line. We’re putting Houston now on the rail line, so that we can make sure we get our fair share of those dollars. Whatever the amount is today, my assumption is that we will need additional help. Every city that has done this has had some help from the federal government. Houston will not be an exception. We need help from our government. My job is to help bring that help to Houston.”

image of speaker, click here for audioMetro is still looking for federal dollars to help build its North and Southeast corridor light rail segments. Secretary Peters’ visit was in the shadow of a piece of land where Metro plans to build a massive intermodal station just north of downtown

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