At its Legislative Conference, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) called on Congress to authorize a $100.4 billion federal transit program over six years, which would grow the current $10.7 billion annual program to $22.2 billion by 2020.
Additionally, APTA’s plan calls for a number of policy changes in the program that will ensure that the industry provides effective and efficient public transportation.
“The industry has come together and developed a consensus recommendation that creates American jobs and addresses the growing demand for public transportation,” said Peter Varga, chair of APTA and CEO of the Rapid in Grand Rapid Michigan. “Our future is riding on public transportation and we are moving forward to work with Congress to implement this plan that will help our local communities grow.”
The return on investment of its recommendations will result in an additional 1.1 million jobs created or sustained annually; $66 billion in business sales generated yearly; and $9.5 billion in local, state and federal tax revenue generated each year, according to APTA.
“This multi-modal plan we are recommending fosters community growth by driving economic development and revitalizes neighborhoods,” said APTA President/CEO Michael Melaniphy. “Increasing investment in public transportation and roads is essential for growing our economy in the U.S. and remaining competitive in a global economy.”
Some highlights of the APTA recommendations for authorization of the federal transportation funding bill includes:
- Authorize a public transportation program that provides strong funding for no less than six years.
- Establish a new dedicated Trust Fund funding mechanism that supplements existing dedicated revenues for the Highway Trust Fund and the Mass Transit Account.
- Restore the bus and bus facilities program to pre-MAP 21 levels in two years.
- Increase and balance federal capital investments in programs for formula funding, New Starts and extensions, state of good repair, and bus and bus facilities.
- Ensure existing public transportation infrastructure and facilities are maintained and updated through major capital investments in current and future projects.
- Enact a robust and long-term program for investment in high-speed and intercity passenger rail.
In support of its recommendations to Congress, the association also launched a new nationwide integrated outreach campaign called “Where Public Transportation Goes, Communities Grow.” It features research based advertising, public relations and social media as well as a digital grassroots outreach initiative.