The Honorable Elaine L. Chao
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20590
Dear Secretary Chao:
On behalf of the more than 1,500 member organizations of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), I would like to thank you again for recently taking the time to meet with our leadership.
As you begin the process of developing the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (U.S. DOT) fiscal year 2018 (FY 2018) budget recommendations, we respectfully request that you recommend fully funding existing public transportation programs at the levels authorized by Congress in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.
Public transportation is an economic driver that connects communities to jobs and opportunity, reduces congestion, and is a catalyst for economic growth. Nearly 90 percent of public transportation trips directly benefit the economy by getting people to work and connecting them to local businesses. In addition, every $1 invested in public transportation generates approximately $4 in economic returns, and 70 percent of government funding for public transit capital investment flows through the private sector, supporting millions of jobs.
Congress approved the FAST Act, which authorized funding for public transportation formula, research, workforce development, safety, and capital investment programs through FY 2020, by overwhelming bipartisan majorities in December 2015. As the administration continues to highlight the need to invest in our nation’s infrastructure, we urge you to start by adhering to the FAST Act-authorized funding levels for public transportation programs, including general fund programs, in your fiscal year 2018 budget submission.
While we understand the fiscal pressures on the federal budget, we appreciate President Trump’s commitment to rebuild and reinvest in the nation’s infrastructure. We need to restore our transportation system to a state of good repair in order to compete with the rest of the world.
We strongly urge you to use the U.S. DOT FY 2018 budget proposal to reflect this commitment by requesting full funding for all programs authorized by the FAST Act. We are grateful for your leadership and look forward to working with you as the budget process continues and in the months and years ahead.
Richard A. White
Acting President & CEO