Management & Operations

ABA testifies on industry impacts of SAFETEA bill

Posted on June 11, 2003

All modes of public transportation -- intercity bus, intercity rail, airlines, cruise ships, urban transit and rural transit -- should be linked by intermodal transportation centers to encourage seamless public transportation, according to testimony by Harry W. Blunt, president of Concord (N.H.) Coach Lines. Blunt testified before the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, on behalf of the American Bus Association, on the Bush Administration's proposal for reauthorization of the Federal Public Transportation Program. The intermodal transportation center fund begins to solve the issue of segmented modes of transportation by providing sufficient seed money to states and communities to make intermodal projects possible. During his testimony, Blunt referenced that some states have taken the lead in developing intermodal transportation centers, in cooperation with the private sector. Blunt said the industry also supports the SAFETEA proposal to increase rural transportation funding by roughly 50%. Another important issue facing the motorcoach industry is the increasing competition from federally funded transit agencies. Section 3020 in the administration's proposal would provide a loophole allowing transit charters if they provide service to the elderly or disabled, the largest market for the intercity bus industry. The intercity bus industry is asking Congress that Section 3020 of SAFETEA not be enacted, and instead establish penalties that make sense when the transit agency violates the charter regulations and that establish clearer definitions of charter and sightseeing service. The industry is also asking Congress to fund the wheelchair program at the levels needed. While SAFETEA continues funding the ADA wheelchair lift program, providing $7 million a year in funding for private operators, the annual cost is closer to $40 million a year, according to the Transportation Research Board . A copy of ABA's own reauthorization proposal, along with Blunt's testimony, is available at www.buses.org/reauthorization

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