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Connolly, Dems Ask McDonnell to Oppose Transit Bills

Rep. Gerry Connolly asked Gov. Bob McDonnell to oppose the measures in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Rep. Gerry Connolly joined other Virginia Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday to ask Gov. Bob McDonnell to voice opposition to a package of bills in Congress that Connolly says would cut millions of dollars of federal funding for public transit in Virginia.

Connolly, along with Reps. Jim Moran and Bobby Scott, sent a letter to McDonnell Wednesday, criticizing a package of transportation-related bills in Congress scheduled to come up for a vote this week. The American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act would approve $260 billion in federal transportation programs over the next five years. Two attached bills would require federal workers to pay more for their retirement and attempt to promote oil shale production, according to a summary on The Hill.

Connolly said the bills would cut $361 million in existing transportation funding to Virginia. “This legislation would cut 7 percent of all federal transportation money coming to Virginia over the next five years,” Connolly said.

The letter from the three lawmakers said that the proposed bills would cut federal funding for highways, air quality, and mass transit systems like the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which runs the Metro system.

“These cuts to Virginia’s transportation funding are unacceptable," Connolly said. "By eliminating public transit’s guaranteed funding source, first established by President Reagan, Metro will be left on very shaky ground. We ask that Governor McDonnell join Virginia commuters in standing against a bill that would do great harm to our Commonwealth’s already severely under-funded transportation system.”

The House of Representatives approved a rule Wednesday afternoon allowing the legislation to be considered. The bills are being pushed by House leaders, but do not have total support from the Republican majority.

You can read the complete letter from Reps. Connolly, Moran and Scott in the attached PDF.

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