Environment: Sicker Transit

Helping the nation's cities to unsnarl their traffic jams might seem a top-priority issue for the Federal Government. But the most practical way to do so—partly subsidizing urban mass-transit systems—raises fierce controversy. Members of Congress from suburban and rural areas argue that cities should pay for their own transit. President Nixon also opposes the subsidies, saying they would strain the federal budget.

But good ideas die hard. Last month the Senate passed a bill authorizing $800 million to help pay for the ever-rising costs of city mass-transit over the next two years. Last week the House approved a similar measure by a...

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