by Ryan Avent
Let me first say thanks again to Ezra for having me back to guest blog. Thanks, Ezra!
Now, to business. As details of the stimulus bill have trickled out, it has become clear that funding for transit priorities is not at the level that many progressives desired. It seems that about $10 billion is included for rail and transit. That's less than the $17 billion proposed by Democratic representative James Oberstar, and considerably less than the total identified transit investment backlog (the executive summary of the stimulus package indicates that some $78 billion in spending might have been warranted).
The logic behind the omissions seems to have been twofold. First, transit projects may not have been shovel-ready enough for the tastes of the bill's authors. And second, it seems that some funding may have been pushed aside to make room for tax cuts.