By: Michael Melaniphy, APTA President & CEO
Just over a week ago, Americans across the country came together in cities and towns – big and small, in almost every state to Stand up for Transportation. They called on Congress to continue to invest in public transportation and to provide long-term funding for our transportation infrastructure.
As we continue to advocate for Congress to pass long-term funding, we are very concerned about two proposals in Congress that would eliminate federal funding altogether for public transportation from the Highway Trust Fund. Under both these scenarios, it would be disastrous for local communities and their public transportation systems. The analysis shows that proposals to cut federal funding for public transit would result, on average, in a 43 percent reduction in a community’s capital improvement funding.
Overall, federal transit investments for both capital and operating costs would be lost, putting at risk more than $227 billion in our nation’s economic productivity over 6 years. The loss of federal capital funds would impact the reliability and safety of current bus and train service and put new services in jeopardy. These Congressional proposals are short-sighted because they would put at risk:
- 38,000 buses or 57 percent of the nation’s public transit bus fleet would not be replaced.
- Overall, 66 new public transit projects could be stalled. Many of these projects serve as a catalyst for economic development in every region of the country.
- Rail maintenance, expansion and rail car replacement would be significantly impacted.
Support for our nation’s transportation system is a partnership among local, state, and the federal government. Public transportation makes the transportation system work more effectively and efficiently.
Public transit investment creates jobs and grows our economy. In fact, 73 percent of the funds for public transit creates and supports private sector jobs.
It makes no sense to reduce or eliminate funding as we work to meet the demand of growing public transit ridership which has grown to more than 10.8 billion trips taken in 2014, the highest in 58 years.
APTA has created a new web application that shows the impact of no federal investment by region, state and Congressional district.
The clock is ticking! There are only 44 days before the May 31st deadline. It’s time to stand up NOW for the future of the nation’s transportation infrastructure.
We will continue to rally citizens, our partners and community leaders to reinforce our message that Congress must act NOW to continue to fund public transit through the Highway Trust Fund and to pass a comprehensive, long-term bill so that we can repair, maintain, and expand America’s public transportation, roads, bridges, and rail systems.