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On May 25, Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) introduced the “Public Transportation Preservation Act of 2010” (S. 3412) which authorizes $2 billion for emergency transit operating assistance for transit systems across the country. The legislation is co-sponsored by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH). APTA strongly supports this legislation and urges all members to immediately contact their Senators to urge them to co-sponsor this bill and help work for its immediate passage.
The bill would distribute funds made available to help restore and prevent service reductions and layoffs, or fare increases that occurred due to decreased state and local funding from January 1, 2009 through September 30, 2011. Under this bill, 80 percent of the funds would be distributed through the Section 5307 Urbanized Area formula program, 10 percent under the 5340 High Density and Growing States formula program, and 10 percent through the 5311 Rural Area formula program. Transit systems may use the funds to address capital needs if they have not increased fares, cut services, or laid off employees and do not plan to do so in the next year.
The bill’s sponsors hope to attach it as an amendment to any appropriations or economic stimulus legislation that is considered in the Senate in the coming weeks, such as the War and Disaster Supplemental Appropriations bill which is currently being considered on the Senate floor. Therefore, immediate action is needed to generate wide-ranging support for the bill.
APTA members should contact their Senators and ask them to support the Public Transportation Preservation Act of 2010.
- Ask your Senator to become a co-sponsor of the Public Transportation Preservation Act of 2010 and support its immediate passage.
- Cite specific examples of how this legislation will help restore service cuts, employee layoffs, and fare increases and help prevent these from happening in the coming year.
- Inform them that that the legislation will help ensure that millions of Americans will continue to be able to depend on public transportation to get to work, school, medical care, and other vital services in communities across the nation.
- Remind them that this will help create and maintain important jobs and help achieve energy independence, reducing the use of gasoline by as much as 350,000 gallons this year.
Sample Letter and Electronic Messages: