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The Honorable Brian Schatz
Chairman
Subcommittee on Transportation,
HUD, and Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. Senate
184 Dirksen Senate
Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Cindy Hyde-Smith
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Transportation,
HUD, and Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. Senate
156 Hart Senate
Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

 

Dear Chairman Schatz and Ranking Member Hyde-Smith:

On behalf of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), which represents the $79 billion public transportation industry that provides mobility for millions of Americans each year, directly employs 430,000 people, and supports millions of private-sector jobs, I write to urge you to honor the promise of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and provide funding levels at least equal to the IIJA’s public transportation and passenger rail investments for Fiscal Year (FY) 2025.

These historic investments in public transportation will help communities of all sizes flourish—connecting workers to jobs, students to school, and people to healthcare. Accessible, affordable public transportation helps families, students, and workers save money and grows our economy.

Specifically, we urge you to provide at least $21.9 billion for public transit and $20.6 billion for passenger and freight rail in FY 2025, when combined with the IIJA’s advance appropriations. These amounts will fully fund public transit and passenger rail investments of the IIJA.

APTA strongly supports at least $4.6 billion for the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Capital Investment Grants (CIG) program. This funding has strong bipartisan support1 and will help our communities begin to address the demand for more mobility choices. These critical infrastructure investments help communities, large and small, design and construct new Bus Rapid Transit, commuter rail, subway, and light rail systems and extensions. Today, 65 projects across the nation are seeking almost $42 billion of CIG funds in FY 2025 and subsequent years.2

APTA also encourages you to fully fund passenger rail, including Amtrak, Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail, Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI), and Railroad Crossing Elimination Grants.

In addition, APTA urges you to provide the fully authorized amount of $3 billion for Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Grants. These investments will help communities create more resilient, multimodal transportation systems to meet today’s equity, mobility, and climate challenges.

APTA also strongly supports several funding limitations and policy proposals. First, we greatly appreciate that the THUD Appropriations Act, 2024 (P.L. 118-42, Division F) and prior THUD Appropriations Acts have included provisions to prohibit implementation of the Rostenkowski Test and to prohibit the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) from impeding or hindering a project from advancing or approving a project seeking a CIG Federal share of more than 40 percent. We strongly encourage the continuation of these provisions in the FY 2025 THUD Appropriations bill.

Second, we urge you to include a provision that expands public transit agencies’ authority to acquire land prior to completion of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review. Specifically, as outlined in the President’s FY 2025 Budget Request, this provision would amend 49 U.S.C. § 5323(q) by replacing the term “right-of-way” with “real property interests”. APTA strongly supports this provision to streamline project delivery and bring FTA’s property acquisition authority into parity with Federal Highway Administration programs.3

Third, APTA strongly supports the President’s FY 2025 Budget Request provision to allow public transit agencies to fund shared use micromobility projects and systems (e.g., bicycles, scooters) as “associated transit improvement” capital projects.4

Fourth, we urge you to include a provision, as outlined in the President’s FY 2025 Budget Request, to increase the allowable Federal share from 80 percent to 90 percent of a project that benefits underserved communities under the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail, CRISI, and the Railroad Crossing Elimination grant programs.5

Finally, APTA strongly opposes the President’s FY 2025 Budget Request proposal to provide FTA the authority to cut the Federal share from 85 percent to not less than 50 percent to disincentivize vehicle customization for projects selected in FY 2025 under the § 5339(b) Buses and Bus Facilities grant program or § 5339(c) Low or No Emission grant program.6 Although APTA recognizes the importance of addressing bus customization, we are concerned that this proposal is not well defined and provides no specific definitions of “customization” or the qualifications of a base model bus.

Thank you for your strong support for public transportation and consideration of our THUD Appropriations Act priorities. Public transportation works for everyone by helping businesses and communities flourish, creating sustainable jobs, and supporting American families. Each $1 invested in public transportation generates $5 in long-term economic returns. Protecting and supporting public transportation funding keeps America on track for success, so that everyone can thrive.

We look forward to continuing to work with you to improve public transportation and benefit the nation.

Sincerely,

Paul P. Skoutelas
President and CEO

cc: The Honorable Patty Murray, Chair, Committee on Appropriations, U.S. Senate
The Honorable Susan M. Collins, Vice Chair, Committee on Appropriations, U.S. Senate
Members, Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies, Committee on Appropriations, U.S. Senate

1 See FY 2025 Representative Robert Garcia-led Capital Investment Grants Letter (04.30.2024).
2 See APTA CIG Project Pipeline Dashboard (05.08.2024).
3 See APTA FACT SHEET Pres. FY 2025 Budget Real Property Acquisition (05.29.2024).
4 See APTA FACT SHEET Pres. FY 2025 Budget Def. of Associated Transit Improvement (Shared Micromobility) (05.29.2024).
5 See APTA FACT SHEET Pres. FY 2025 Budget Federal Share for Underserved Communities (05.29.2024).
6 See APTA FACT SHEET Pres. FY 2025 Budget Disincentivize Customization (05.29.2024).

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