Management & Operations

Transit needs not addressed by SAFETEA, APTA says

Posted on May 16, 2003

The public transportation industry is disappointed that the Bush Administration's SAFETEA reauthorization proposal does not adequately address substantial and growing infrastructure investment needs for both transit and highways, according to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). The proposal is a move in the wrong direction for transportation investment policy, said an APTA statement. While SAFETEA does continue some part of the highly successful guaranteed funding provisions for public transportation, the General Fund component of the federal transit program would be excluded from the funding guarantees. This would mean a return to the past, when funds authorized for public transportation investment frequently were not appropriated, making receipt of funds unpredictable and driving away private sector investments, APTA said. APTA also said that under the proposal, guaranteed highway funding is slated to grow 24% from 2003 to 2009, while guaranteed public transit funding would actually be 8% less in 2009 than in 2003. The proposal would also increase the state and local share for public transportation new starts projects to 50%, while retaining the 20% share for highway projects. This imbalance would require cash-strapped states and local governments to come up with additional funds to continue their transit investment programs. The levels of funding proposed for public transportation will hinder national economic growth, according to APTA. Every $1 billion invested from federal funds in the nation's transportation infrastructure generates 47,500 jobs.

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