This paper reviews the political and historical background of transit operating subsidies. The issue discussed is not whether there should be operating subsidies, but rather which levels of government should provide them and in what fashion. Three arguments are reviewed: the fiscal, federal role, and pragmatic arguments. The fiscal argument is that the operating deficits of transit authorities represent a local government fiscal program and should be treated as such. The federal role argument states that federal operating subsidies would lead to an inappropriate degree of federal involvement in local government decision making. The pragmatic argument is that it would be extremely difficult to use federal operating subsidies as an effective tool for improving urban transit operations and that the subsidies carry a real chance of being counterproductive. This paper examines four categories of operating subsidy options: no operating subsidies, the pipeline approach (unrestricted flow of funds to the transit industry), the block grant approach (examplified by the transportation revenue sharing bill and the federal-aid urban highway program in the 1973 highway act), and the quid pro quo approach (a grant program whereby specific quid pro quos in the form of definite improvements or innovations in an urban area transit system are demanded in return for federal subsidies).

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Pagination: pp 12-17
  • Monograph Title: Transit operating subsidies
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00138140
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0309024862
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Sep 16 1981 12:00AM