Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
American Public Transportation Association

 To the Senate and House Appropriations Committees on FY 2017 Funding for US DOT

The Honorable Thad Cochran 
Chairman 
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
 
The Honorable Barbara Mikulski
Ranking Member
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate 
Washington, DC 20510
 
The Honorable Harold Rogers 
Chairman 
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
 
The Honorable Nita Lowey
Ranking Member
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives 
Washington, DC 20515
 
 
 
Dear Chairman Cochran, Ranking Member Mikulski, Chairman Rogers, and Ranking Member Lowey:
 
On behalf of the more than 1,500 member organizations of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), I write to urge Congress to continue the important work that the Senate and House Appropriations Committees have already done this year and pass a full-year Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 bill funding the Department of Transportation before the December 9 deadline. Federal public transportation programs provide economic and critical mobility benefits for Americans across the country.
 
First, we emphasize the importance of passing a funding bill this year, rather than waiting to complete the process in the next Congress. Funding uncertainty caused by another Continuing Resolution (CR) would be a problem for many transit systems because the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is unlikely to apportion formula grant funds under a short-term CR. Delays will force agencies to make difficult decisions including service restrictions, delayed purchases, putting off projects to maintain and preserve existing systems, and other issues that cause fiscal inefficiencies and impact public transportation riders. Many agencies are already dealing with the effects of underinvestment and deferred maintenance and further delays are simply bad policy. We urge Congress to get the job done this year.
 
We appreciate the work that has been done this year in both the Senate and House toward completing the FY 17 appropriations process. Bills advanced in both chambers would fully fund Highway Trust Fund programs under the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. This includes critical funding of $199 million to install positive train control (PTC) at commuter rail systems. With only limited federal support our members have made significant progress, but these funds will speed that important process.
 
We strongly support funding increases for Capital Investment Grants. With transit ridership growing faster than both population and vehicle miles travelled since 2004, these funds help transit systems expand and grow to meet the increasing demand for quality service. There is a robust pipeline for these worthy projects – including New Starts, Small Starts, and Core Capacity projects – that justifies funding this program at the level provided in H.R. 5394, $2.5 billion.
 
Research programs continue to be important and we urge no less than the FAST Act authorization of $20 million from the General Fund to support Public Transportation Innovation research and development programs. We support the level provided in H.R. 5394 of $5 million for Technical Assistance and Workforce Development programs. We also urge Congress to fully appropriate authorized funding for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).
 
Additionally, increased federal funding to support commuter, intercity, and high-speed passenger rail service continues to be a priority for the public transportation industry. Enhancing our national passenger rail network with connections to other modes of public transportation expands mobility options and is essential to economic growth. APTA urges Congress to fully fund the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Program, the Federal-State Partnership for
 
State of Good Repair Program, and the Restoration and Enhancement Grant Program and Amtrak programs consistent with the FAST Act. We oppose a legislative provision in the bill approved by the House committee that limits funding for the development of high-speed and intercity passenger service.
 
Thank you for your consideration of our priorities for the FY 2017 Appropriations bill. We look forward to continuing to work with Congress to expand and improve access to public transportation in communities throughout the nation.
 
Sincerely,

Richard A. White
Acting President and CEO
 
cc: The Members of the Senate and House Committees on Appropriations​
 
Copyright © 2017 American Public Transportation Association
1300 I Street NW
Suite 1200 East
Washington, DC 20005
Telephone (202) 496-4800 | Fax (202) 496-4324
Logo Usage | Staff Intranet