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Dear Mr. President:
The more than 1,500 member organizations of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) applaud your call for a multi-year surface transportation bill that provides immediate, upfront investment in public transportation and high-speed rail infrastructure combined with a new, long-term vision for our nation's surface transportation system. We will continue to urge Congressional leaders to work with your Administration to advance a bill as quickly as possible. American jobs are depending on this. As you introduce your priorities, we offer the following thoughts:
- For every $1 billion invested in U.S. public transportation, 36,000 jobs are supported and created.
A six-year surface transportation bill with $123 billion for public transportation and $50 billion for high-speed passenger rail, as APTA has proposed, would support and create 6.2 million jobs, 3.4 million more jobs than would be supported by current levels of federal investment. This request is based on the level of federal contributions needed to rehabilitate and maintain transit assets in a state of good repair and expand transit services to accommodate the projected doubling of transit ridership in the next 20 years.
- ARRA investment in rail and bus transit has been exhausted. Upfront transit investment in a six-year bill would help to rehabilitate and replace deteriorating facilities and vehicles at rail and bus transit systems.
All of the $8.4 billion provided for public transportation in ARRA has been committed to completed and ongoing projects. This investment helped transit systems repair and upgrade deteriorating facilities, construct much needed new infrastructure and replace 12,000 aging buses and railcars, but more can done. According to recent report from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), $77.7 billion is needed to bring the infrastructure and vehicles of rail and bus systems up to a state of good repair.
- Public transportation investment can be put to work rapidly.
New upfront investment in public transit could be deployed rapidly. A recent survey of U.S. transit systems found that more than $15 billion worth of capital projects including construction and rehabilitation activities are stalled solely because of funding constraints. Work on these projects could begin shortly after the FTA awards a grant to a transit system.
- Continue the development of high-speed and intercity passenger rail.
APTA strongly applauds your commitment to the development of high-speed and intercity passenger rail in the U.S. Our transportation system will remain incomplete until it includes world-class high-speed and intercity passenger rail services. Employment growth in the domestic rail industry is beginning and will be key component of America’s economic future, providing hundreds of thousands of forward-looking, high-paying jobs. To realize this vision, we support your call for the continued growth of the federal high-speed rail program alongside other federal surface transportation programs.
Thank you for your continued support of public transportation and high-speed and intercity passenger rail. Transportation is the economic backbone of the United States. The Administration’s focus on transportation investments that advance environmental sustainability, safety, economic competitiveness, and livability is aiding our nation’s economic recovery and will provide benefits for many future generations.