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Dear Administrator Rogoff:
I write on behalf of the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) more than 1,500 member organizations to request that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) act quickly in releasing apportionment and allocation notices for Fiscal Year (FY) 2011. The current extension for the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) expires at the end of this calendar year and Congress has not yet passed an FY 2011transportation appropriations bill. While the absence of a long-term authorization and a year-long appropriations bill is a big concern for transit systems that must continue to provide bus and rail service daily, challenges for transit systems are compounded by the fact that state and local revenues for transit have fallen sharply because of the weak economy. It is imperative that even if Congress passes a short-term continuing resolution, or a short extension of authorizing law, the FTA still issue a partial-year apportionment.
Without the timely apportionment of funds, states, metropolitan planning organizations, transit agencies, and other eligible recipients cannot adequately fund operating budgets, preventative maintenance and repair, or plan capital expenses and other expenditures necessary to serve both transit riders and employees. This lack of funds also hurts the entire supply chain that serves the transportation industry at an already tough economic time.
Access to FY 2011 apportionments is particularly important to smaller public transportation systems that rely on this federal funding to support daily operations and maintenance activities, but in the current economy it affects even the largest transit systems.
Further, we request that a Federal Register Notice (making available apportionments and allocations issued by the FTA) include not only the apportionments and allocations under a short-term continuing resolution or authorizing extension, but also the full year apportionment amount based on the funding levels appropriated for FY 2011. This would help transit systems plan for the entire federal fiscal year.
Thank you for your consideration of this critical issue facing the public transit industry. APTA looks forward to continued work with you to support the growth of public transportation. If you have any questions, please contact Paul Dean of APTA’s Government Affairs Department at (202) 496-4887 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.