Executive Governance: Presidential Administrations and Policy Change in the Federal Bureaucracy

By Cornell G. Hooton | Go to book overview

Appendix D
The Carter Administration's
Preferences for Transit

1. Promoting Transit Expansion

Background

The end of the 1960s and the start of the 1970s were years of expansion for urban mass transit, with respect to the amount of governmental funding, the number of new systems, and the renovation and expansion of existing systems. Indeed, by the mid-1970s, investment in rail system extensions and entirely new systems consumed about half of capital grants, with the remainder going toward maintenance and rehabilitation of existing systems ( Meyer and Gomez-Ibañez 1981, 44). While between 1945 and 1964 only five transit extensions and two new systems (in San Francisco and Cleveland) were begun, the first decade of the capital grants program ( 1964-74) saw twelve extensions and three new systems ( Atlanta, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.), while three additional new systems ( Miami, Honolulu, and Buffalo) had begun initial planning and several metropolitan areas were beginning to consider new systems ( Meyer and Gomez-Ibañez 1981, 46): thirteen of the twenty-nine cities with populations over one million were by 1974 already planning some form of rapid transit. 1

The increasing local demand for transit investment soon came to overmatch, however, the anticipated federal funding. After the passage of the Urban Mass Transportation Assistance Act of 1970 and in light of the increasing local demand for transit, UMTA contracted the Institute of Public Administration (IPA) to estimate the total demand for investment in transit systems for 1970-79. IPA estimated in 1972 that the demand for mass transit systems would easily exceed congressional funding for transit. In 1974 dollars and adjusting for likelihood of completion, IPA estimated a total of $41.6 billion in construction, of which George Hilton estimated $27 billion would be UMTA's share ( Hilton 1974, 85). In contrast, UMTA's investment target in the 1970 act was $10 billion for twelve years. Thus, even by 1973, the chief of UMTA, Frank

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