|A full house packed the Maitland Civic Center |
for Monday's U.S. House field hearing on
America's transportation needs. Photo by Linda Stewart.
Sierra Club organizer Marti Daltry delivered written comments to Rep. Mica’s staff from 872 Sierra Club
Talk about these goals were completely missing from testimony heard at Monday’s Florida Field Hearing held in Maitland by the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, chaired by Congressman John Mica (R-Winter Park) with 4 fellow committee members present, including Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Jacksonville) and Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV). Previous public hearings were held in
West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Oregon, California, Arkansas and Tennessee to inform the House Committee's work on the transportation reauthorization bill.
Rep. Brown was quite vocal in her support of high speed rail, taking FDOT to task for failing to distribute its recent report projecting 1st year profits of over $10 million from high speed rail from Orlando to Tampa, using the old Sgt. Joe Friday motto from Dragnet: "The facts, ma'am, just the facts". Other than her lament for
The event was well attended by the public and several local elected officials (mayors, commissioners, city council members) representing
FDOT Asst. Secretary Ananth Prasad testified that in tough times no federal money should be spent on highway landscaping, sidewalks and bike facilities, a position supported by Bob Burleson of the Transportation Builders Association, and one we’re sure our bicycle and pedestrian group coalition members will find most distressing. Burleson also supported eliminating all transit funding from the highway trust fund, saying it should instead come from the general fund (where it could be subject to the level of budget cuts being experienced by a wide range of programs), and called for a change by 2020 from the gas tax to one based on vehicle miles traveled, as more efficient cars and trucks contribute lower taxes while creating the same need for road repair as low mileage gas guzzlers. Today's gas tax ($.184/gal) has not been increased since 1993, making it effectively $.13 in today's dollars.
No mention was made of negative environmental impacts on
Sierra Club's Central Florida Transportation Chair John Puhek held a large poster of an Acela high speed train during the hearing to show the committee that
According to Mr. Puhek, “