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Dear Members of the Conference Committee:
On behalf of the 1,500 members of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), we write to urge conferees on Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP 21/S.1813) and the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012, Part II (H.R. 4348), to produce a conference report that can pass both chambers and be signed into law. While APTA continues to believe that the nation needs a longer-term, better funded bill, we urge you to act now and pass a meaningful piece of legislation, for the longest possible term.
We also write on behalf of the millions of Americans who use public transportation daily and those whose jobs depend on public transit investment. Ridership demand for public transportation services increased at more than 5 percent in the first quarter of 2012, and yet, public transit systems are hard-pressed to meet this demand because of fiscal constraints. Federal investment in infrastructure creates jobs, just as failure to invest results in job loss. Recently, one major bus manufacturer with facilities in New York and North Carolina closed and left the U.S. job market, putting 600 direct employees out of work. Similarly, a major component manufacturer with operations in Texas and North Carolina entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. Furthermore, additional downstream impacts on many small business sub-suppliers will only add to the job loss from business closures that will continue absent an authorization bill.
Predictable funding is vital to addressing investment needs for public transportation in communities across the country. A new bill will contribute to economic revitalization and job creation nationwide. In the strongest possible terms, APTA urges you to act now.