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Dear Chairman Obey:
On behalf of the nearly 1,500 member organizations of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), I write in support of the strong funding levels the Committee has included for federal public transportation programs and high-speed and intercity rail in the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year (FY) 2011.
While Congress continues to work on a new surface transportation authorization bill, it is important that the annual budget and appropriations reflect the need to increase public transportation investment. The bill that the Committee has produced takes important steps to ensure that critical resources are directed toward investment in our nation’s public transportation infrastructure. These job-creating investments not only assist state, regional and local public transportation agencies in their effort to meet the mobility needs of the American public, but they will also improve the safety and reliability of our systems, assisting transit agencies in addressing the huge backlog of state-of-good-repair needs. A study released on July 21 by the U.S. Federal Transit Administration determined that, just to reach a state-of-good-repair on the nation’s rail and bus systems, we need to invest $77.7 billion in one-time costs. A failure to invest now will only contribute to a greater backlog and higher costs for future generations.
APTA is also pleased that the Committee reported bill includes important resources to assist commuter and passenger rail providers meet the federal mandate that they implement positive train control systems by 2015. These funds will contribute to critical safety improvements, and funding is required now in order to meet the mandated timetable. And finally, although APTA had called for $2.5 billion for high-speed and intercity passenger rail investment, we applaud the Committee’s effort to include additional funds above the Administration’s request. These funds, when combined with those currently available to project sponsors across the country, will continue to encourage private investment, expand manufacturing and business opportunities, and create new long-term jobs.
We thank you for considering APTA's views. If you have questions, please contact Brian Tynan of APTA’s Government Affairs Department at (202) 496-4897 or email email@example.com.