And that money, at least historically for big transit projects, comes from familiar coffers: the federal government, which supplied the bulk of funding for previous MetroLink expansions. Plesko said many blame Metro for not wanting to build in Madison County, when in reality it's the lack of federal support preventing it.I often complain about the federal process and the new starts program because Todd Plesko is right, they are awful. But so are MPOs. They have enormous power to program more money for transit and less for roads than they let on, but people have been so lopsided in focus on automobiles that if you dare take away thier highway money you're the devil.
Plesko said the Bush administration has severely sliced funding for light rail projects in recent years, forcing cities hungry to expand systems to lobby heavily or chalk up the cash themselves. "If you want federal funds, then you must compete for them. The current administration makes it really hard to get light rail," Plesko said.
Yes the feds could help out a lot more than they are and they should (This means you congress, not just the FTA). They should be at the forefront of a national transit movement, especially now. And I honestly don't see how with a wonderful system like Metro in Washington people still can't see the benefits of capital transit investments. They must be rather blind. But we must get more money out of the MPO and somehow fix it so that regions stop spending on the periphery and start spending in the core.