Award–winning journalist Andrea Bernstein is Senior Editor for Politics & Policy for WNYC News. She has previously served as Metro Editor, Political Director, Director of Transportation Nation, and Senior Reporter.
It came as a bright spot today when Robert Puentes of the Brookings Institution said, “We are trying to make sure the stimulus bill does no harm.” Harm, for transit advocates, means a bill that sets spending levels at rates that favor drivers over straphangers, or that give most of the control to states, who tend to favor funding for roads over subway trains. On a voice vote, the House passed a measure which would restore $3 billion to the $9 billion for transit in the $825 billion bill, cut in part because of White House concerns that it couldn’t be spent quickly enough. In the end, there seemed to be little opposition and the transit money now clocks in at about 1.3 percent of the total bill, up from just over one percent. In context, transit lobbyists say, a victory.