Schumer, Advocates, Unions: 'Life-blood' of Cities is at Risk

Sen. Schumer speaks on the need to support transit. Left of Schumer is TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen; on the right is NYC Councilman James Vacca.

Local and national advocates are keeping the pressure on for the Public Transportation Preservation Act (S 3412/HR 5418), which would provide $2 billion in emergency operating aid for transit agencies across the country that have been forced to slash service and hike rider fares. In the tri-state area, the bill would provide hundreds of millions of dollars for the MTA, NJ Transit, and other agencies.

Earlier today, Senator Chuck Schumer spoke outside Penn Station earlier today to underscore the need for the bill, saying that “mass transit is the life-blood of our city.” The event brought together a host of local advocates as well as transit unions, which have been pushing for greater federal transit aid under the “Keep America Moving” banner. Attendees included the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, NY State Transportation Equity Alliance, Straphangers Campaign, WE ACT, Regional Plan Association, Transportation Alternatives, Vision Long Island, Project for Public Spaces, Next Step, NY Lawyers for Public Interest, and Sierra Club’s NYC chapter. Also speaking in support were the heads of Transport Workers Union Local 100, Amalgamated Transit Union, United Transportation Union, and SEIU 32BJ, as well as NYC Councilman James Vacca, the chair of the transportation committee.

Also today, Transportation For America called on its members to “keep flooding our senators with letters and calls,” directing them to a new action alert where people can ask their senators to cosponsor the bill. In the past two days, the bill has gained two cosponsors — Mark Begich (AK) and Ron Wyden (OR) — and now has 10 in total. The bill’s original cosponsors include five from the tri-state area: Sens. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez (NJ), and Chris Dodd (CT).

Photo: Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

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