Discussing an array of issues facing the U.S. in his State of the Union Address Tuesday, President Bush asserted that the nation has grown stronger and more prosperous under his leadership. However, transportation was not mentioned in any capacity during the speech.
With the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA 21) set to expire on Feb. 29, support for the act from the Bush Administration and Congress is a key issue for public transportation providers. TEA 21 authorizes federal funds for bus and rail transit projects, infrastructure development and highway safety programs.
Following the address, Bill Millar, president of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) released a statement commenting on the President’s omission of public transportation. “It is deeply disappointing that President Bush did not include surface transportation among his top initiatives for 2004,” he said.
The statement also maintains that TEA 21 should be one of the top legislative priorities this year. Said Millar, "[APTA] urges the President to increase transportation funding in his proposed FY 2005 Budget and to support the $375 billion funding level for TEA 21 proposed by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Each $1 billion in funding would create 1.7 million jobs.”