NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Federal funding could be down the road to help college students who commute to school.
U.S. Sen. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has unveiled a new proposal he calls “UTRIP,” or the University Transit Rider Innovation Program.
Under the proposal, transit agencies that offer college students discounts would get increased federal funding. The program would cost $250 million a year, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported.
Schumer suggested the program be paid for by taxing companies that keep profits overseas.
Saddled with loans, students often have to make tough choices when it comes to budgeting and travel.
“It takes a lot of the money that I make, usually from work,” Victoria Kahimovi, a student at Adelphi, said. “And I could spend it on food or books, but I have to spend it on the train and the bus.
The proposed program would help keep cars off the road and promote “greener” mass transit riders, as well as produce more college graduates, Schumer said.
“The future of America is a well educated cohort of young people and if we don’t have them we’re not going to stay the greatest country in the world,” Schumer said.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority already provides discounts for New York City school kids and seniors. A spokesman said any additional discounts would create a new financial dilemma unless they were reimbursed from other sources.
The Long Island Rail Road also offers steep discounts with its monthly and weekly tickets. According to an MTA spokesperson, some colleges have looked into the possibility of buying monthly tickets in bulk from the Long Island Rail Road to issue to students.
The issue of federal funding for college transportation is expected to be debated in Congress later in the year.