Tester pushes Congress to get on board with public transit

Senator goes to bat for Montana transit systems in need of infrastructure, investment


(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Senator Jon Tester is pushing Congress
to get on board with stronger public transit systems—especially in Montana and other rural

During a hearing on Capitol Hill today, Tester zeroed in
on the rising role of public transit systems in cities like Great Falls, Missoula and
Billings.  He
noted that public bus systems in those cities have reported a significant
increase in ridership in recent months.

More Montanans are riding buses in the state’s cities
because of high fuel prices.  Tester said public transit systems are smart
community investments because they provide a low-cost option for commuters. 
They also make America more secure by reducing the
country’s dependence on foreign oil.

“When we consider solutions for the long term—no matter
what the price of oil is—all options have to be on the table,” Tester said
during today’s hearing of the Senate Banking Committee.  “No public transit
systems should fall by the wayside, and it’s our job to make sure Congress
understands the need for efficient, sufficient

Tester argued for better public transit infrastructure.
 Many of the state’s transit systems are operating day-to-day at full capacity
on tight budgets.  One bus breakdown, Tester said, could affect an entire
community.  Some systems are raising fare prices and reducing

In August, Tester traveled across the state sharing
his energy
with Montanans.  Efficient public transit systems lead to
more conservation—a key part of Tester’s plan.

Tester’s common sense plan also calls for drilling for
more oil in areas that make sense—like eastern Montana’s Bakken formation, cracking down on
speculators who drive up the price of oil, and investing in alternative energy
for the long term.