(Download Document In Adobe PDF format)
Dear Speaker Boehner and Chairman Ryan:
On behalf of the American Public Transportation Association’s nearly 1,500 member organizations, I write to express our opposition to the proposed reductions in transportation infrastructure investment in the House Budget resolution. If passed, this budget would severely limit investments in our nation’s surface transportation program, especially for public transportation, at a time we can ill afford to make those reductions. The nation’s economy is just beginning to recover and transportation infrastructure is a key component of assuring we sustain that recovery.
As has been documented by two bipartisan commissions; the National Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission; and the National Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission, we are dramatically under-investing in our nation’s transportation systems. In addition, the Simpson-Bowles Deficit Reduction Commission called for increased infrastructure investment and accompanying revenue to pay for that investment.
The proposed budget plan would reduce spending for surface transportation programs by more than 30 percent. This would halt thousands projects needed in the years ahead to bring our nation’s public transportation infrastructure up to a state of good repair and to build capacity for millions of new riders. These reductions would undermine the ability of transit systems to meet service demands at the very moment that transit ridership is increasing dramatically as a result of gas prices approaching $4 per gallon. Instead of adopting limits on transportation investment, Congress needs to pass a well-funded, six-year, multimodal surface transportation bill. While transportation programs account for less than 3 percent of the federal budget, they support or create more than 2.5 million jobs annually. Modest changes to the collection of federal motor fuel user fees in a new surface transportation bill could easily eliminate the small amount of deficit spending in these programs
We urge reconsideration of the reductions proposed to these vital economic investment programs, and the addition of a reserve fund that will allow for increased expenditures should Congress enact an authorization bill that generates new revenue. We look forward to working with the Congress to develop a responsible budget that ensures that needed transportation investments can and will continue.