Among the things APTA is urging Congress is to provide the fully authorized amount of $3 billion for RAISE Grants, including public transportation and multi-modal projects.  -  Photo: WMATA

Among the things APTA is urging Congress is to provide the fully authorized amount of $3 billion for RAISE Grants, including public transportation and multi-modal projects.

Photo: WMATA

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is calling on House and Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Committee leaders to resolve their differences and provide the critical investments needed to improve the nation’s public transit, passenger rail, and multimodal infrastructure.

In a letter to Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), and Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL), APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas wrote, “As you begin resolving the differences between the House and Senate THUD Appropriations bills, we urge you to fully fund public transit and passenger rail at the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 authorized amounts: $21.6 billion for public transit and $20.2 billion for passenger rail. These amounts would honor the promise of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“At a minimum, we urge the THUD Appropriations Act, together with advance appropriations of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, to provide $21.1 billion for public transit and $16.7 billion for passenger rail, as passed by the Senate with an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 82-15. These investments are critical to our efforts to begin to bring public transit and passenger rail systems to a state of good repair.”

APTA Urging Congress to Continue Public Transit Support

In addition, APTA is urging Congress to:

  • Provide the fully authorized amount of $6 billion for Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Capital Investment Grants (CIG) to help communities meet mobility demands. At a minimum, APTA says the $4.05 billion for CIG, as passed by the Senate, is needed for critical infrastructure investments.
  • Provide additional public transit investments for specific initiatives, including the Senate THUD Appropriations bill’s additional $268 million for bus competitive and low-no emission bus grants, ferry grants, the accelerating innovative mobility initiative, and designated investments for specific public transit projects; and the House THUD Appropriations bill’s $131 million for specific public transit projects.
  • Fully fund passenger rail, including the Amtrak, Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail, Consolidated Rail Infrastructure, and Safety Improvement (CRISI), and Railroad Crossing Elimination Grants.
  • Provide the fully authorized amount of $3 billion for Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Grants, including public transportation and multi-modal projects.
  • Support the Senate THUD Appropriations bill provision that expands public transit agencies’ authority to acquire land prior to completion of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review, which would streamline project delivery and bring FTA’s property acquisition authority into parity with Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) programs.

Opposition to House THUD Appropriations Riders

Skoutelas also voiced APTA’s opposition to several policy riders included in the House THUD Appropriations bill, including:

  • Section 192 that prohibits any funding to require any information or reporting with respect to any Department of Transportation (DOT) grant program in accordance with an equity action plan, including the DOT Equity Action Plan published in January 2022.
  • Section 126 that prohibits funding to finalize, implement, administer, or enforce the Federal Highway Administration’s July 15, 2022, proposed rule on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Measures or a successor regulation.
  • Section 153 that prohibits any funding for California’s High-Speed Rail Authority project and section 428 that prohibits any funding for activities to implement New York City’s congestion pricing under the Value Pricing Pilot Program or New York City’s Central Business District Tolling Program.

“APTA strongly discourages the adoption of any of these harmful funding limitations in the THUD Appropriations Act,” Skoutelas wrote. “Protecting and supporting public transportation funding keeps America on track for success, so that everyone can thrive.”

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