Public transit leaders from across the country spoke at a press briefing hosted by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) about their deep concerns regarding the Trump Administration's FY18 budget proposal to phase out the Capital Improvement Grant (CIG) program.
Cuts to the CIG program would put public transit projects and the thousands of associated direct and indirect jobs at risk in more than 50 communities. “The Economic Implications of Proposed Public Transit Capital Funding Cuts” report stated that 800,000 jobs would be at risk and there would be a possible loss of $90 billion in economic output nationally if this proposal was implemented.
"I must emphasize that APTA and its 1,500 members are very concerned about the Trump Administration's FY18 budget proposal to phase out federal investment of public transit programs that are vital to our local communities and millions of Americans," said Doran J. Barnes, APTA chair and executive director of Calif.’s Foothill Transit. "The Administration's proposed cuts to public transit impact more than 50 projects in 23 states worth $38 billion in planned projects."
"This proposal is wholly inconsistent with the Administration's approach to improve our nation's infrastructure," said APTA Acting President/CEO Richard A. White. "It is contrary to the 35-year federal partnership that was created under the Reagan Administration, which has led to a rail renaissance that has transformed our nation's communities."
Noting that Congress reaffirmed this federal responsibility when it authorized $2.3 billion annually, through 2020, for the CIG program in the FAST Act, White said:
"The federal government is an essential and critical funding partner for public transportation capital projects that help to create prosperous communities. Currently, the federal government covers 43 percent of all capital spending for public transit."
Last November, communities nationwide approved nearly $200 billion in local and state ballot measures for public transportation. Voters approved these local funds with the expectation that they would be matched with federal funds for implementing capital projects.
"Now it is time for the federal government to step up and match the local and state funds for transit projects that have been approved by the voters," said White. "It takes investment from all levels of government and the private sector to improve our public transit systems and enhance the communities they serve."
APTA is calling on the Trump Administration and Congress to reject these cuts and reaffirm its support for these programs as part of the FY18 budget process. In addition, APTA is calling on Congress to include increased investments in public transportation as part of any new infrastructure initiative.