What: All Issues : Environment : Air Pollution : H.R. 3. Surface Transportation/Vote on Amendment to Grant Urbanized Areas with Small Transit Systems Additional Flexibility Regarding How to Spend Their Federal Transit Funds.
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H.R. 3. Surface Transportation/Vote on Amendment to Grant Urbanized Areas with Small Transit Systems Additional Flexibility Regarding How to Spend Their Federal Transit Funds.
house Roll Call 63     Mar 10, 2005
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

In this vote, the House agreed to an amendment offered by Joseph Pitts (R-PA) to H.R. 3 that would grant urbanized areas with small transit systems (e.g., public bus systems) additional flexibility regarding how to spend their federal transit funds. H.R. 3 was a bill reauthorizing the nation's surface transportation (highways, etc.) laws. James Oberstar (D-MN) argued on behalf of most Progressives and many other Democrats and Republicans that allowing these areas additional flexibility to use their federal transit funds for ordinary operating expenses would violate an earlier carefully developed compromise regarding the formulas for distribution of these funds. Oberstar added that tacking this amendment onto the bill would "create confusion and would create unfairness among users, among other transit systems across the country." Pitts, on behalf of many other Republicans and Democrats (at least some of whom were from districts that included small urbanized areas), countered that because the current formula causes smaller urbanized areas to lose funding as they grow, that law "punishes smaller transit systems and the communities they serve simply because they are thriving. These smaller transit systems rely on budget flexibility and cannot make major revisions overnight." (James McGovern (D-MA).) He emphasized that these systems need time to determine how to make up for the shortfall under the formula caused by their growth. The House approved this amendment by a vote of 228 to 197 with many representatives crossing party lines due in part to interests particular to their districts. Thus, language permitting urbanized areas additional flexibility with regard to the use of their federal transit funds was incorporated into the bill.

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