APTA’s President/CEO Paul Skoutelas is calling on Congress to provide $32 billion in critical emergency funding for public transportation when it returns from recess next week. Below is his statement.
“Upon returning to Capitol Hill next week, the American Public Transportation Association implores both chambers of Congress and the Administration to provide at least $32 billion in critical federal support to enable the industry to survive during this unprecedented ongoing crisis.
As the crisis has stretched from days to weeks to months, public transportation systems large and small, from coast-to-coast, face an increasingly dire situation. We continue to serve essential employees every day, but without additional emergency funding, many transit agencies will soon need to cut transit services and routes and furloughing transit workers, leaving our communities without service and jobs when they need us most.
A recent survey of APTA members found that reduced revenues due to depressed ridership, paused fare collection, and reduced tax revenues, together with increased operating costs to protect workers and riders, are devastating public transit agency budgets. These increased costs and revenue losses have resulted in almost one-third of public transit agencies being forced to furlough employees or planning future furloughs. These jobs provide access to healthcare and essential services and cannot be replicated or replaced. Allowing furloughs and unnecessary job cuts to occur at this moment would be an affront to hard-working Americans across the country who continue provide essential service to those who work in hospitals, staff our pharmacies, and keep our grocery stores open and running.
In addition, more than one-third of public transit agencies have had to delay capital projects, and nearly one in five agencies have shifted funds from their capital budget to their operating budget. Many transit systems, both large and small, are predicting significant budget shortfalls due to declining revenues heading into fiscal year 2021 without additional federal support.
As our nation’s transit agencies work to maintain essential services while restoring full services, federal support is critical to ensure that public transit agencies can survive and help our communities and nation recover from the economic fallout of the pandemic. Again, I urge Congressional leaders and the Administration to move swiftly and include at least $32 billion in emergency funding for our nation’s indispensable public transit industry.”