Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico, D-Newark, said today he got 19 other Assemblymembers to sign onto a letter he wrote this week to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, asking her to seek greater investment in public transit as part of the economic stimulus package.
The letter went out Thursday, a day after the House voted 244-188 to pass its $819 billion version of the package, which has $43 billion for transportation projects including $12 billion targeted for mass transit. The U.S. Senate will vote on a stimulus package next week, and then the House and Senate versions will have to be reconciled in a conference committee before it goes to President Barack Obama’s desk to be signed into law.
“This is the right moment for a meaningful investment in transit that will help America reduce its dependence on foreign oil and improve our environment at the same time,” Torrico said in a news release. “More people are relying on transit systems to meet their transportation needs.”
The letter says more and more people “depend on mass transit in their everyday lives to get to their places of employment, to take their children to school or childcare, and to shop for food and other necessities. Additionally, expanding public transit represents a crucial step for addressing global warming and improves mobility without sacrificing air quality.”
The letter also cites a U.S. Department of Transportation estimate that a $47.8 billion investment in public transportation could support more than 1.3 million green jobs in the next two years, and a California Transit Association estimate that every $1 billion invested in new transit capital projects creates 34,000 jobs and more than $3 billion in local economic activity.