On behalf of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and its 1,500 members across the country, I applaud President Obama for stating that “21st century businesses need 21st century infrastructure – modern ports, stronger bridges, faster trains…” I also applaud President Obama for saying, “Let’s pass a bipartisan infrastructure plan…and make this country stronger for decades to come.”
Americans want Congress and the President to break the gridlock and work together. As President Obama pointed out, infrastructure is a bipartisan issue. APTA believes that Republicans and Democrats should be able to find common ground on and move forward to pass a multi-year, multimodal, well-funded surface transportation bill before the May 31 deadline. Congress must also fund the Highway Trust Fund, which includes the Mass Transit Account.
In his State of the Union, President Obama talked about jobs and how important it is for everyone to have economic opportunity in this great nation. Public transportation plays an important role in helping millions of people become economically independent since nearly 60 percent of the trips taken on public transportation are for work commutes.
Transportation is the economic backbone of our economy. With President Obama’s remarks on economic opportunity and the need to update our infrastructure needs, it should be noted that every $1 invested in public transportation leads to $4 in economic returns. Economically competitive communities need quality public transportation.
At a time of growing demand for public transportation (10.7 billion trips in 2013 – the highest in 57 years), public transportation funding should be a priority, not only to expand public transit access, but also to provide adequate funding to address the $86 billion in backlog projects to ensure safe, reliable, and modern public transportation services.
As we approach the May 31 deadline for a new surface transportation bill, it is critical that our national leaders come together to create legislation that will ensure years of economic growth and opportunity for communities across the country. As President Obama said at the conclusion of his remarks, “Let’s start the work right now.”
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The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of 1,500 public and private sector organizations, engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed passenger rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. APTA is the only association in North America that represents all modes of public transportation. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical transit services and products. More than 90 percent of the people using public transportation in the United States and Canada ride APTA member systems.