Photo: U.S. Bank

Photo: U.S. Bank

Funding for public transit doesn’t just benefit transit agencies — it supports economic growth and enhances people’s everyday lives.  According to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA):

  • Every $1B invested in public transportation creates approximately 50,000 jobs.
  • Every $10M in capital investment in public transportation yields $30M in increased business sales.
  • 87% of trips on public transit have a direct impact on the local economy.

The message is clear: open-loop mass transit creates livable, productive, and connected cities where businesses and residents thrive. Using payments data to emphasize how public transit projects benefit infrastructure, public safety, and business development goals can help win leadership buy-in for transit funding. Open-loop public transit systems help:

  • Control infrastructure repair costs.
  • Minimize incremental damage to aging infrastructure.
  • Provide reliable transportation for workforce commuters.
  • Reduce pollution and other environmental impacts. 
  • Providing safe, affordable transportation for residents. 

Identify Big-Picture Priorities

Data can help build a compelling case to bring to leadership, but you also need to understand your city's top budget priorities. Is there a new stadium on the agenda? Or a push to control infrastructure spending? Meet with the relevant agencies and begin gathering data. Look for data that speaks to open-loop transit's impact on the proposed project and then create a proposal that details how transit extends or supplements existing services to help these projects achieve their goals.

  • Track data that relates to the project, such as rider volume, demographics, and idle time.
  • Forecast open-loop transit's effect on the proposed project.  
  • Emphasize the long-term sustainability of improved mass transit. 
  • Promote new transit's ability to adapt to multimodal transit, including micro-transit.

Bring Community Stakeholders on Board

To help ensure the success of your proposal, you need to build a broad coalition of support among communities that transit improvements will help. Begin by gathering and analyzing payments demographic data. Then, reach out to leaders from each segment and enlist their help. Remember to:

  • Find people who are comfortable working with and speaking in front of state leaders and community members.
  • Organize networking moments among community leaders, local legislators, and governor’s representatives.  
  • Choose your team's best communicator to build community leader-legislator relationships.   

Keep the Momentum Going

Finalizing a budget takes time — continue to advocate all session long. Your agency can use contactless payments data to log quick wins and highlight progress during the session. Ongoing outreach to elected officials after the legislative session ends keeps your project on their radar. Here are some steps to take:

  • Provide progress updates — recent wins, milestones, and partnerships.
  • Network with legislative reps who can advocate for you before the proposed budget submission.
  • Monitor the proposed budget and continue advocating whether or not transit receives funding.
  • Track ridership uptick and forecast how it affects shared goals within the comprehensive plan.
  • Forecast potential savings on infrastructure repair and maintenance.
  • Highlight how vital reliable public transit is for business workforces.
  • Promote how a flexible interconnected transit network enhances the quality of life for residents. 

 If you’d like to find out more about gaining budget funding for mass transit, download our whitepaper.

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