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I write on behalf of the 1,500 member organizations of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), to tell you about an effort by our member organizations which is meant to generate support for the passage of a multi-year surface transportation authorization bill to replace the expiring Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) law.
APTA, like its many partners who represent U.S. business sectors, contractors and road builders, planners, state and local officials, labor and others, believe that the federal investment in the nation’s aging transportation infrastructure is important. All of thesegroups are working with Congress as it advances legislation that addresses that investment.
Among other efforts that these groups are undertaking in the months ahead, members of APTA are planning rallies in communities around the country on Thursday, April 9, 2015 – Stand Up for Transportation Day -- to support passage of a federal surfacetransportation bill. These events are being managed at the local level and are likely to be different in every community, though each one will seek to raise awareness of the need for, and benefits of, the federal programs that support our public transportation systems and highways, and what the loss of these federal funds would mean to the community.
Organizers will invite community groups that support the need for a long-term federal bill to join them. Businesses, chambers of commerce, state, county, and local officials, citizens and others who support a robust federal program are expected toparticipate. Rallies are now being planned in nearly 100 communities around the nation, and we expect that number to grow.
For public transportation, the federal partnership with state and local government, combined with fares paid by riders, is what pays for the capital equipment transit system require and the services they provide. Last year, more than 10.7 billion trips were madeon public transportation. People rely on public transportation in metropolitan regions, big and small cities, suburbs, and rural communities. While passenger fares pay for the largest share of operating costs; and state, local, and directly generated funds cover more than 55 percent of all capital spending, the federal share pays for more than 44 percent of annual capital spending and is essential to providing public transportation in all of those communities. Public transportation provides an important alternative in congested urban areas, and it serves as a lifeline to healthcare, education, and economic opportunity in communities of all sizes. Federal funding helps to buy buses, rail cars and systems, and all of the other goods needed, and fully 74 percent of every federal dollar flows directly into the private sector.
We believe that public transportation helps make the entire system work more efficiently, and we also support the federal investment in our nation’s aging highway and bridge systems, over which transit buses and paratransit vans operate.
We hope you will consider participating in events on April 9 which are organized in the communities you represent. Although events are being organized and run by individual public transportation systems, we would be happy to help you find the answers to any questions you might have about events in your community. We look forward to working with you as Congress advances a surface transportation bill in the months ahead.
Michael P. MelaniphyPresident & CEO