“On behalf of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), our 1,500 member organizations, and the millions of Americans that rely on public transportation, we commend the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s leadership in working to advance the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015.
We commend the Committee for crafting this bipartisan surface transportation authorization bill that provides added certainty through a multi-year authorization period. That certainty is important for public transportation providers to plan future capital investments. However, we are concerned that in this constrained financial environment, the program funding levels are not sufficient to adequately address the $86 billion state of good repair backlog as well as the future demand facing our communities.
APTA’s recommendations call on Congress to pass a bill authorizing a six-year federal public transportation program that substantially increases federal investment, with predictable funding. The association’s recommendations addresses long-term capital and state of good repair needs as well as expansion of public transit infrastructure.
APTA applauds the Committee’s efforts to address the bus capital investment needs across this nation. The bill increases bus formula funding, restores a discretionary bus and bus facilities capital program and provides for greater flexibility in bus procurement and human services transportation coordination. Additionally, we strongly support the bipartisan agreement reached on legislation to provide for a responsible extension of time for railroads to implement life-saving positive train control technology.
However, the funding limitations surrounding the bill preclude the needed growth in the core formula and state of good repair programs. Further, we continue to maintain concerns about provisions in the bill that increase Buy America domestic content for rolling stock, as well as provisions that reduce the federal share for transit capital investments and reduce the flexibility of state and local sponsors to utilize other federal transportation funds.
Ultimately, failure to adequately invest at the federal level will only increase the already too large, and growing, backlog of state of good repair investment needs, inhibit the ability of public transit providers to meet the growing demand for service, and result in higher long-term costs associated with maintaining the existing system.
We look forward to continuing to work with the Committee and Congress as it works to identify more resources that can be dedicated to the Highway Trust Fund and added to the bill to support investments in public transportation and highways. We stand ready to work with Congress as this legislation moves forward.”
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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.