With the backdrop of the American Public Transportation Association's (APTA) EXPO 2011, the association released an updated report making the case for investment in the public transportation industry by detailing the enormous growth in ridership, service provided and funding levels.
The "The Case for Business Investment in Public Transportation" reinforces that there has been a steady growth trend over the past three decades and it is now a $55 billion industry. The data in this report point to an even more prominent future standing.
The report shows that America's public transit systems carried more than 10 billion passenger trips for the fifth consecutive year in 2010, the highest levels since 1957. It also shows support for better public transportation through public approval of transit ballot measures. These ballot measures have a 73 percent approval rate over the past 12 years.
There have been consistent, diverse and stable sources of funding for public transportation, according to the report. With funding coming from a mix of federal, state, local and transit agency sources, the transit industry revenues reached $38.9 billion in 2009 for agency operations and $18.2 billion for agency capital programs. The report states that since 1995, capital funding provided by the combined total of directly generated and local sources has increased 180 percent.
APTA noted for each $1 billion invested in public transportation, 36,000 jobs are supported and created.
The increase in ridership has led to the dramatic growth of the number of rail systems and vehicle replacements. The number of rail systems has increased more than two and one-half times since 1980. There were only 10 commuter rail systems in 1980 but by 2010 there were 28. The number of light rail systems increased five-fold, from 7 in 1980 to 35 in 2010. The roadway vehicle fleet now exceeds 150,000 with rail cars bringing the total to 172,000. The entire vehicle fleet grew from 116,000 in 1995 to over 172,000 in 2010.