Statement by American Public Transportation Association President William Millar
“On behalf of the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) more than 1,500 member organizations, we commend Senators Dodd, Durbin, Schumer, Menendez, Lautenberg and Brown for introducing the ‘Public Transportation Preservation Act of 2010,’ which authorizes $2 billion in funds for emergency transit operating assistance. APTA strongly supports this legislation and stands ready to help secure its immediate passage.”
America’s transit systems are facing an unprecedented crisis, as diminishing state and local resources to support operating budgets are leading to scores of service reductions, fare increases and employee layoffs. According to a survey of its members that APTA completed in March 2010, 84 percent of transit systems have implemented service cuts or raised fares, or are considering these measures. More than half of all transit agencies have eliminated positions and one in three have been forced to lay off employees. Among the larger transit systems, layoffs and staff cuts have been even more common.
The Public Transportation Preservation Act of 2010 will provide urgently needed funding to alleviate the financial challenges facing public transportation systems as a result of the recession. As you know, Americans rely on public transportation to go about their daily lives, from getting to work, school, or obtaining medical care. In addition, public transportation is a key economic engine that is vital for recovery – every $1 billion in investment creates 36,000 high quality “green” jobs.
We commend the leadership of the Senators for introducing the act which will provide temporary assistance to preserve and create American jobs during these difficult economic times. These funds will provide needed transportation services to the public, and we look forward to working with the Congress to help secure swift passage of this vital legislation.”
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The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of more than 1,500 public and private member organizations, engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne passenger services, and high-speed rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. More than 90 percent of the people using public transportation in the United States and Canada are served by APTA member systems.