SAVING ENERGY THROUGH PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION ACT OF 2008 -- (House of Representatives - June 26, 2008)
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Mr. HOLT. Madam Chairman, I rise today in support of H.R. 6052, the Savings Energy Through Public Transportation Act of 2008, H.R. 6052.
As gas prices continue to skyrocket to over $4 a gallon, commuters are increasingly abandoning their automobiles in favor of public transportation. New Jersey's public transit agency, NJ Transit, is breaking ridership records for the sixth consecutive year, with over 900,000 trips per weekday on its trains, buses, and light-rail vehicles. In the first 3 months of this year, public transit trips nationwide increased by 85 million over last year's numbers. Amtrak set record highs for its service with over 25 million users last year. This increase in use not only takes cars off our overburdened roadways, it conserves energy, decreases our greenhouse gas emissions, and helps our economy.
However, mass transit agencies are also suffering from soaring gas prices, increased demand for their services, and decreased operating budgets. Transit agencies are paying 44 percent more for diesel fuel than they were at the beginning of this year, and almost half of bus operators and more than two-thirds of rail operators have increased their fares.
The Saving Energy Through Public Transportation Act of 2008 would help State and local mass transit authorities meet the increase in demand and allow them to provide a cost-effective alternative to driving. This legislation would authorize $1.7 billion in grants for mass transit agencies to upgrade and expand their transit services without having to further increase their fares.
By taking public transportation the average American household could save $6,251 and help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 4,800 pounds per year. However, commuters need affordable, reliable access to public transportation if they are to utilize these benefits. This bill would help make public transit more available to commuters, and I urge my colleagues to support it.
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