Memorandum of Disapproval of a Bill To Amend the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964
I REGRET that I cannot approve H.R. 10511, a bill to amend the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964. Unfortunately, this bill has evolved so as to become an anti-transit measure.
In its favor is the fact that H.R. 10511 would facilitate the use of Urban Mass Transportation monies for the purchase of buses by allowing such equipment to be used for charter services. Unfortunately, however, the bill would leave in effect the prohibition against using buses purchased with Federal-Aid Highway funds in charter activities. By creating different standards for the purchase of buses from the two programs, the bill would discourage the use of highway funds for mass transit purposes. It would thus undermine one of the central achievements of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1973, the provision giving greater flexibility to States and communities in meeting their transportation problems. This we cannot afford.
I strongly supported legislation which applied uniformly to both the Federal-Aid Highway program and the Urban Mass Transportation program. The Senate version of the bill provided flexibility, encouraging bus purchases from both of these funding sources. It is essential that our communities' mass transit companies can use their buses to produce badly needed charter revenues, and I will continue to press for this balanced flexibility.
As we face gasoline shortages and an increasing demand for public transportation, we should do all we can to afford local officials genuine flexibility to use Federal-Aid Highway funds to improve mass transit if they so desire. I am withholding my signature from H.R. 10511 because this legislation would work directly against that objective.
I urge the Congress to act early in the next session to relax the charter prohibition uniformly with respect to both the Federal-Aid Highway program and the Urban Mass Transportation program. If this action is taken promptly, our mass transit systems need not suffer any adverse consequences.
The White House,
January 3, 1974
Note: The text of the memorandum, dated January 3, 1974, was released on January 4 at San Clemente, Calif.
APP Note: The Public Papers of the Presidents series dates this memorandum January 4, 1974, the date it was released. The American Presidency Project dates this memorandum , January 3, 1974, the date it was signed.
Richard Nixon, Memorandum of Disapproval of a Bill To Amend the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/256516