Brian Kelly

ST. LOUIS (KMOX)-Mass transit supporters are casting a wary eye towards Washington D.C. this morning, as the full House prepares to take up its version of the 2012 transportation bill.

Under the five-year, $260 billion measure, mass transit would no longer automatically get one-fifth of fuel tax revenue and other user fees in the highway trust fund but would have to compete annually with other programs.

Metro Vice-President for Government Affairs, Adella Jones, calls the elimination of the provision that was first intalled in 1982, under President Ronald Reagan, “A huge, radical change.”

Jones says that year-to-year uncertainty would make it impossible for her agency to plan ahead, “Removing that dedicated funding source, it’s going to affect that long-range planning, how we purchase busses, how we expand the system. That is where the hurt will come.

“You can’t live on a wing and a prayer, when you’re running a service that is so important to people, of this size, running seven days a week 365 days a year. That takes precise planning, calculation and  a financial plan.”

Backers of the bill say federal gasoline taxes should be used for road projects and mass transit should be paid out of a separate pool of cash.

Click here for more information on the bill.

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