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Dear Chairman Mica and Ranking Member Rahall:
On behalf of the more than 1,500 members of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), I write to express our opposition, in the strongest terms possible, to provisions in the House Committee on Ways and Means tax title of the Surface Transportation Authorization bill. Specifically, we object to provisions that would redirect revenues from the 2.86 cents of the current motor fuels tax that are now dedicated to transit investment, to other purposes. APTA believes strongly that fuel tax revenues that are now dedicated to public transportation should remain dedicated to public transportation in the new authorization bill.
For nearly 30 years, a portion of federal motor fuels tax revenues has been dedicated to transit investment under federal law. These tax revenues will generate an estimated $25 billion over the 5 year period covered by the House bill and would support nearly 50 percent of the funds authorized for transit investment in the bill. These revenues are a dependable and predictable source of funding for transit investment and should remain dedicated to public transportation.
New funding sources will be required to fully fund both transit and highway investment authorized under the bill. These new funding sources should be used to help support authorized funding that cannot be paid for with existing dedicated revenues, instead of redirecting funding away from existing purposes.
Public transportation relies on long-term stable funding in order to carry out long term planning and major construction projects that employ thousands of people in the private sector. We oppose eliminating a stable funding source in favor of one which is unproven and may not meet even current investment levels. The House Ways and Means tax title jeopardizes public transportation investment at a time when ridership numbers are up significantly across all modes.
APTA is committed to working with Congress to enact a surface transportation bill that addresses all surface transportation investment needs prior to the expiration of the current authorization extension.