By Brian Beutler
First Matt, then Ryan, now Brian, have all claimed there is no money in the bill for this purpose. But that actually isn’t true.For one thing, a lot of the fiscal aid for the states can be used at their discretion. So, that federal money is immediately available for transit operations if the states so choose.
For another, the states can of course respond to designated federal spending by shifting around their own spending. So, money for transit capital projects, or indeed any purpose ordinarily funded by the states, can potentially free up more state money for transit operations.
The only real point here is that the states have not been told they have to spend some of the stimulus money on transit operations, even though they can if they want to. So, for Matt, and Ryan, and now Brian, to have a point to make, that point should be an explanation why the states need to be told to spend the available funds on transit.
OK, I’ll bite: States need to be told to spend some of the available funds on transit so they don’t commit that money to other, less stimulative projects that just happen to have stronger political voices behind them. Hopefully that’s more precise.