American Bus Association president Peter Pantuso told members of the Subcommittee on Housing and Transportation, of the challenges faced by the motorcoach industry against industry giants, urging targeted investments in the industry.
At the hearing, which focused on enhancing private participation in public transportation, Pantuso explained that while the industry giants provide critical services, it is not without a hefty subsidy from the federal government and the nation's taxpayers.
He urged Congress to weave the industry into the larger fabric of the transportation network, by insuring fairness in competition and to level the playing field in addition to making small, targeted investments in the industry.
In his testimony, Pantuso highlighted proposed initiatives that could help to provide opportunity for private operators in the public arena, including the need for increased funding for ADA wheelchair compliance.
"According to several studies, the annual cost to the industry is $40 million, yet the grant program developed to assist the industry is funded at only $7 million. The need for additional funds is clear," Pantuso said.
Pantuso also cited a need for a dedicated source of funding to create a network of intermodal passenger facilities.
On the issue of bus security, he noted that although Congress has in the last two years appropriated $25 million for a competitive grant program for bus security improvements, the Transportation Security Administration has refused to release the funds and instead asked Congress for permission to reprogram the funds for aviation security.