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Dear Senator Dodd:
On behalf of the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) 1,500 member organizations, I commend you for introducing the Public Transportation Preservation Act of 2010, which authorizes $2 billion in funds for emergency transit operating assistance. These funds are urgently needed to alleviate the financial challenges facing public transportation systems as a result of the recession. APTA strongly supports this legislation and stands ready to help secure its immediate passage.
America’s transit systems are facing an unprecedented crisis, as diminishing state and local resources to support operating budgets are leading to service reductions, fare increases, and employee layoffs across the nation. According to a survey of its members that APTA completed in March 2010, 84 percent of transit systems have implemented service cuts or raised fares, or are considering these measures in the upcoming budget year. More than half of all transit agencies have eliminated positions and one in three have been forced to lay off employees. Among the larger transit systems, layoffs and staff cuts have been even more common.
As you know, Americans rely on public transportation to go about their daily lives, from getting to work to obtaining medical care. Public transportation is a key economic engine that is vital for recovery – every $1 billion in investment creates 36,000 high quality “green” jobs. The funding authorized under your bill will provide a critical boost to allow transit systems to maintain jobs and continue to provide vital services in communities across the nation.
We thank you for your leadership on the issue of temporary assistance in order to preserve and create American jobs and provide needed transportation services to the public, and look forward to working with you to help secure swift passage of this vital legislation.