A new survey released by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) found that more than 80 percent of public transit systems have seen flat or decreased funding from local, regional and state funding. Among transit systems facing this decreased funding, nine out of ten transit systems (89 percent) were forced to raise fares or cut service.
The report, "Challenge of State and Local Funding Constraints on Transit Systems: Effects on Service Fares, Employment and Ridership" shows that among those systems facing revenue declines almost half of the transit systems (47 percent) reported they have both raised and cut service to address funding shortfalls. The report is based on a survey of 98 APTA transit system members representing more than one-half of the nation's transit riders, and includes 10 of the top 15 agencies in terms of annual ridership.
"With state and local revenues declining due to the recession, public transit systems are facing severe financial challenges, and America's riders are paying the price," said APTA President William Millar. "Raising fares and cutting service drives people away from using public transit and is counterproductive, as America struggles to create jobs, cut greenhouse gases, and reduce our reliance on expensive foreign oil."
APTA called on Congress to include an allocation of cap and trade revenues for public transportation in current climate change legislation, the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), pointing out that public transit is a part of the solution to address climate change, already saving 37 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and 4.2 billion gallons of fuel per year. APTA also urged quick passage of the House and Senate conferee provision in the pending war supplemental bill to permit transit systems to use up to 10 percent of their American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) formula funds for operating purposes.
"The bottom line is that additional funding for both capital and operating costs is urgently needed and that all levels of government - local, state, and federal - must step up and expand investment in America's public transit systems to meet our country's economic, energy and environmental challenges, while increasing mobility choices," said Millar.
To view the full report, click here.