QUIGLEY CALLS ON OBAMA, CONGRESS TO INCREASE MASS TRANSIT FUNDING
Congressional candidate- the "greenest elected official" in Chicago- launches new website, www.moretransit.com
In video message posted on the Internet, Quigley invites transit supporters nationwide to sign on-line petition to House-Senate conferees calling for more support for public transportation in final version of Economic Stimulus Package
CHICAGO -- Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley, who has been called Chicago's "greenest elected official" based on his leadership in passing every significant piece of environmental legislation on the Cook County board over the past decade, is calling on President Obama and members of Congress to increase funding for mass transit in the pending Economic Stimulus package.
In an innovative approach to mobilize support for the effort, he has also launched a new site on the Internet where mass transit riders around the nation can make their voices heard.
In what he is calling a "mass effort to save mass transit," Quigley is inviting people who rely on public transportation to visit www.moretransit.com. By visiting the new site, people can sign an on-line petition urging Congress to push for more transit support in the final version of the Economic Stimulus package.
Quigley is also sending a letter to President Obama asking for his support for the effort to increase transit funding above the level called for in the Senate's version of the bill.
In a video message posted today on the web, Quigley stressed that support for mass transit is a "sure-fire way to stimulate our economy and put people back to work."
He compared the current economic downturn to the "slow zones" that are familiar to riders of the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and transit systems around the nation where public transit infrastructure needs support.
"The U.S. economy is stuck in a 'slow zone'," he said, "and the way to speed up our economy and create jobs is to increase support for public transportation, here in Illinois and around the nation."
Quigley added that, aside from the immediate economic benefits, enhanced support for mass transit would help reduce America's dependence on foreign oil and protect the environment. His entire video message can be viewed at www.moretransit.com.
In the petition found at the website, Quigley calls on members of the upcoming House-Senate conference committee, the committee of lawmakers who will be responsible for reconciling the differences between the two chambers' competing bills, to agree to the funding levels for transit passed by the House-or higher.
The House funds mass transit at $12 billion-at least $500 million more than the Senate.
He also urges conferees to revisit and approve the amendment offered by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) last week, which would have added $5 million for mass transit. A minority of Senators blocked consideration of the amendment.
Quigley contrasted the support for mass transit in the economic stimulus package with the far larger $27 billion in support for new highway funding.
In the web message, Quigley also announced that, if elected to Congress, he will introduce legislation to cut in half the subsidies and tax breaks currently paid to the oil and gas industry. His bill would direct $ 7.5 billion in savings to help municipalities purchase new fuel-efficient bus and rail equipment.
Quigley, who has authored every piece of major environmental legislation in CookCounty over the past decade, has been called Chicago's "greenest elected official" by the Chicago Reader. He has emerged as the frontrunner in the race to replace former Rep. Rahm Emanuel, who resigned the seat to become President Obama's Chief of Staff. In the only polls released to date, Quigley leads all other candidates in the race.
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