Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) questioned rural transit directors during a subcommittee hearing of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee. During the hearing, entitled “Rural Transit: Opportunities and Challenges for Connecting Communities,” Senator Lummis questioned Brandon Nurmi of Arrowhead Transit, Kendra McGeady from Pelivan Transit, and Barbara Cline of Prairie Hills Transit, about federal support for transit systems in rural America.
“It’s an important subject so we can highlight the transit needs for rural America in addition to urban America,” Senator Lummis said. “You know transit’s almost always thought of as an urban issue, but small bus operations and on-demand transit operations play key roles in connecting low-income citizens in rural communities too, like those in my home state of Wyoming.”
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Senator Lummis asked about declining congressional support over the years for buses and transportation vans in rural areas as compared to more urbanized areas. In particular, she asked about the “Bus Formula Program” and the “Rural Area Formula Program.” These are the primary federal programs that provide rural states and local agencies with funds to purchase, repair, and operate their bus and transport van fleets.
Senator Lummis sits on all three Senate committees with transportation jurisdiction. Senator Lummis is working with her colleagues on the Senate Banking Committee to ensure that rural transit operations are not deprioritized in favor of more urban areas during the upcoming surface transportation reauthorization. Wyoming has several transit operations, including both on-demand and fixed-route services.