House Approves Mass Transit Aidadmin
On Capitol Hill, the House approved financial help for mass transit systems facing a surge in riders because of high gas prices. But Republicans blocked Democrats from requiring oil and gas companies to drill on the millions of acres of government land and water on which they already own federal leases.
The House authorized $1.7 billion over the next two years to lower fares and expand operations as more riders flock to public transit. The transit measure, which must still be considered by the Senate, marks the first time federal money would be used to support local mass transit operating costs.
The oil lease proposal was an effort by Democrats to counter a push by congressional Republicans to lift a long-standing drilling ban on most offshore U.S. waters. Democratic leaders maintained the industry should first go after oil and natural gas in areas where they already hold leases.