Transit reversal is asked

January 30, 1992|By Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON -- In his proposed 1993 budget submitted to Congress, President Bush has proposed spending $2.2 billion less on urban mass transit than the $5.2 billion authorized by Congress in the transportation bill approved last year.

Department of Transportation officials said the difference stems from the administration's continuing opposition to the use of federal transit funds to subsidize the operating expenses of bus or rail systems in large metropolitan areas with populations of more than 500,000.

The administration's position has prompted sharp criticism from urban officials, who say they need the subsidies to avoid raising fares and losing riders.

Overall, Mr. Bush called for spending $36.6 billion on transportation, including money for highway, bridge and safety programs, urban mass transit, railroads, aviation, the Coast Guard, and research. The total represents a 6.3 percent increase over the figure appropriated by Congress for fiscal 1992.

About $22 billion would be parceled out directly to states and local governments to help pay for construction and maintenance of roads and bridges, and for capital improvements for bus and rail systems. The direct aid to states has been touted by the administration as a way to create jobs and help the economy.

Although Congress had approved spending at least $45 million on a new, pilot project to develop a high-speed, magnetically levitated train, the administration set aside $15 million to study the feasibility of the project.

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