Katko to Highway Conference Committee: Restore Funding Cuts to Centro

Katko Addresses Critical Need for Centro Services in Central New York

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. John Katko (NY-24), member of the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure and Surface Transportation Conference Committee member, today spoke at a public meeting on the surface transportation reauthorization legislation to express concerns over an amendment that was added to the House bill which would eliminate funding for the 5340 High Density States bus program and result in funding cuts for Centro.

Video of Rep. Katko’s remarks can be found, here.  His remarks, as prepared for delivery are below:

“I’d like to thank Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member DeFazio for their hard work in crafting this bill.  It’s been a pleasure serving on Transportation and Infrastructure.

“I want to express my concern over an amendment that was added to the House bill on the floor, which eliminates funding for the 5340 High Density States bus program.

“The seven states that receive funding through this program provide half of all the public transit use in the country.

“This important program simply ensures that states with the most need receive the funding they need to maintain robust transit programs. 

“This misguided amendment redirects this money to a discretionary program controlled by the Department of Transportation, and in doing so would wreak havoc on the most heavily used transit agencies in the country without providing ANY increased funding certainty to agencies in other states.

“Centro, the transit agency that serves my district would see a cut of more than 20%, and this agency already faces dire financial difficulties.

CENTRO Syracuse Bus Hub

CENTRO Syracuse Bus Hub

“The same devastating cuts would be inflicted on agencies throughout the northeast, where this funding is needed the most, unless we act.

“We should act and restore this program, because this is how our federal system is supposed to work.  States with more transit needs should get more transit funding just as states with more agriculture will benefit disproportionately from the farm bill.

“We should act, because if we don’t half the nation’s transit users will instantly be worse off.

“We should act, because if we don’t, the economies of these states, which are among the foremost drivers of our nation’s economy and are highly dependent on transit, will suffer greatly, and the nation’s economy will suffer as a result.

“We should act because it’s the prudent thing to do, and the right thing to do.

“I urge the Committee to recede to the Senate’s position on this issue, and get us back to the spirit of cooperation and compromise that ensured that the Committee-passed bill received unanimous support.

“Thank you for your consideration.  I’m eager to serve on this conference committee with you.”

One of many proposals to reinvent Interstate 81

One of many proposals to reinvent Interstate 81

In addition to his delivered remarks, Rep. Katko submitted a statement for the record calling for Interstate-81’s “High Priority Corridor” status to be maintained.  An amendment submitted by Rep. Katko in the House-passed language conferred this designation on I-81.  Finally, Rep. Katko called for the maintenance of provisions he inserted at the Committee level protecting the safety of highway workers and bus operators, as well as “Safe Streets” language that ensures that new infrastructure is designed in a manner that protects pedestrians.

Congressman John Katko represents the 24th Congressional District, which includes all of Onondaga, Cayuga, and Wayne Counties and a portion of Oswego County.  For more information, please visit https://katko.house.gov or www.facebook.com/RepJohnKatko.