The Honorable Peter Buttigieg
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, D.C. 20590
Dear Secretary Buttigieg:
On behalf of America’s public transportation industry, which directly employs more than 448,000 workers and supports millions of private-sector jobs, I write to urge the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to support projects that will improve our nation’s public transit, passenger rail, and multimodal infrastructure in your selection of Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant recipients.
In the past four years, the percentage of BUILD grants awarded for public transportation-related projects was significantly less than the historical average—decreasing from a historical average of 33 percent to less than 13 percent. See APTA Policy Brief, Strong RAISE Program is Critical for Public Transportation Projects, July 2021. We believe that DOT’s decision to reconstitute the program as the RAISE program offers an opportunity to restore the program to its intended purpose of providing funding to critical multimodal capital investments.
Moreover, we applaud the Department’s decision to prioritize improving racial equity, reducing the impacts of climate change, and creating good-paying jobs when evaluating RAISE project selections. Public transportation projects directly address each of these key priorities. We know that every $1 invested in public transportation generates $5 in economic returns, and every $1 billion invested in public transportation creates and supports approximately 50,000 jobs. In addition, a typical trip on public transit emits 55 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than driving or ridehaling alone. Finally, public transportation provides access to opportunities, including jobs, health care, and education.
Given the synergy of these priorities and public transportation, we are confident that projects that support critical public transportation initiatives will rate very highly under RAISE grant criteria, and we urge full consideration of those project applications.
Thank you for your leadership on this important issue.
Paul P. Skoutelas
cc: The Honorable Nuria Fernandez, Administrator, Federal Transit Administration
Mr. Amit Bose, Acting Administrator, Federal Railroad Administration