To continue the momentum of stabilizing ridership and a recovering economy, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) called on Congress on Wednesday to urgently enact a new, six-year transportation bill that would help expand public transportation systems nationwide.
APTA made this announcement after releasing a new report that shows ridership in the second quarter of 2010 stabilizing after five quarters of decline.
"If we are serious about continuing this recovery, investing in our public transit infrastructure is an important element," said APTA Chair, Mattie P. Carter, commissioner at the Memphis Area Transit Authority. "We support U.S. Rep. Oberstar's plan for a multi-year bill to fund transportation, which will provide our public transit systems the tools they need so they can grow ridership and assist with creating jobs in our local communities."
On the heels of the one year anniversary of the expiration of the previous multi-year surface transportation bill (SAFETEA-LU), APTA officials, along with public transportation riders from around the country, shared stories of how public transportation has benefitted their lives at an event at the Federal Center SW Metro station in Washington, D.C., just blocks away from the Capitol building. The stories provided real examples of how public transportation gets people to work and puts people to work while enhancing the quality of life of all Americans.
The citizens and APTA officials also presented a national petition to Congress. This petition notes the first stage of a nationwide petition drive to illustrate public support for increasing funding for public transit. On hand to receive the petition was U.S. Rep. James Oberstar, chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and other members of Congress. The riders also took their stories to meetings with the office of the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, as well as with the office of U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, Majority Whip of the U.S. House of Representatives.
"Congress needs to act as soon as possible to pass a new multiyear surface transportation authorization bill so that we can move forward in improving our public transit systems for the millions of people who depend on their services every day," said APTA President William Millar. "In addition, investment in public transit in this bill will result in supporting and creating 6.2 million jobs."