The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) called on Congress, Wednesday, to pass economic stimulus legislation that includes funding public transportation projects to create new jobs.
APTA has identified 559 public transit “ready-to-go” projects, worth $8 billion.
Testifying before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, APTA Chair Dr. Beverly Scott, who is also GM/CEO of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, said that APTA has just completed a new survey that identified more than $8 billion in “ready-to-go” projects from 170 public transit systems that could start within 90 days of federal funding being made available.
Pointing out that every dollar communities invest in public transportation generates approximately $6 in economic returns, Scott said, “I urge Congress to move forward with an economic stimulus package that recognizes the value of investing in our nation’s public transportation infrastructure. These projects will create new economic activity and put thousands of people to work.”
Scott added that economic stimulus legislation is also needed to provide additional infrastructure to meet the rapidly growing demand for public transportation.
Public transportation use has grown by 32 percent since 1995, a figure that is more than double the growth rate of the population (13 percent) and up substantially over the growth rate for the vehicle miles traveled on U.S. highways (24 percent).
Last year, 10.3 billion trips were taken on U.S.public transportation – the highest number of trips taken in 50 years. In the first quarter of 2008, transit ridership grew by 3.4 percent and in the second quarter of 2008, ridership grew by 5.2 percent.
“Expanding public transportation services and creating much needed American jobs now can both be accomplished through the passage of an economic stimulus package,” said APTA President William W. Millar. "Transportation studies show that $1 billion of federal investment creates about 35,000 jobs. Beyond creating jobs, investing in public transit serves other important national goals.
“Public transportation provides more affordable travel options for Americans and helps us meet our national goals of energy independence and reduction of carbon dioxide emissions to combat climate change,” Millar added.
To read the congressional written testimony submitted by APTA Chair Dr. Beverly Scott to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, go to http://www.apta.com/government_affairs/aptatest/