February 3, 2009

ATU proposal: transit should receive $30B annually

The Amalgamated Transit Union released its Federal reauthorization recommendations, including increasing federal transit funding by 20 percent annually, creating a program to encourage states to invest more in transit and involving the public in the decision making process.

In its proposal, We Can Get There From Here, the ATU calls for an annual 20 percent increase in federal transit funding, with the program being funded at a guaranteed level of more than $30 billion annually by 2015. The proposal also calls for Congress to give local transit systems the option to use their federal funds for operating purposes.

ATU’s plan also calls for the metropolitan planning process to become more open, by giving the public the ability to comment and participate in the transportation decision making process. Specifically, ATU calls for broadening the group of voting members on state and metropolitan planning boards to ensure that the constituency groups, who benefit the most and are affected the most by the choices made, can have a voice and a vote in the process.

Additionally, the ATU proposal recommends that Congress adopt a new program, entitled the Flexibility Incentive Grant (FIG) Program, which is designed to encourage states to invest more in transit; improving paratransit service for elderly and disabled individuals; and new programs to focus on workforce development.

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