The 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, released today by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), gave U.S. public transportation a D- grade, even as it acknowledged the growth of demand for public transit.
“With the lowest grade of all the infrastructure categories, public transportation is unfortunately the poster child for our country’s underinvestment in infrastructure. This low grade underlines the need for greater investment in public transportation,” said Richard A. White, Acting President and CEO of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). “Transportation is the backbone of an economy and it is in our country’s best interest to make sure that public transportation projects are adequately funded.”
A comprehensive report recently released by APTA titled Who Rides Public Transportation shows that 87 percent of the trips taken by transit riders are for commuting to work, shopping or going to entertainment venues.
“All of these trips are good for local businesses and a local community’s economy,” said White.
The ASCE report noted that there is “a tension” about the need for expansion to meet the increased demand for public transportation services and the need to properly maintain the transit system. In its 2015 Condition and Performance Report, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) noted that there is a $90 billion state of good repair needs that still has to be addressed.
Pointing out that “a transit system’s condition closely correlates to ridership and financial strength,” the ASCE report correctly stated how critical it is for a transit system to be kept current and well maintained. One of its recommendations was to “encourage additional investment at all levels of government and relevant areas that focus on reducing the backlog of rehabilitation needs.”
“Continuing to underinvest in public transportation will hurt the economic well-being of our towns and cities across the country,” said White. “We don’t need another wake-up call. Let’s move forward in implementing an infrastructure initiative that increases investment in public transportation and helps communities nationwide.”
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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.