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American Public Transportation Association

 APTA Letter to House Appropriators on Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Priorities


The Honorable Rodney P. Frelinghuysen
Chairman
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives
H-305, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Nita M. Lowey
Ranking Member
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives
1016 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Mario Diaz-Balart
Chairman
Subcommittee on Transportation,
Housing and Urban Development
and Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
2358-A Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable David E. Price
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Transportation,
Housing and Urban Development
and Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
1016 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Frelinghuysen, Ranking Member Lowey, Chairman Diaz-Balart, and Ranking Member Price:

On behalf of the more than 1,500 public- and private-sector member organizations of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), I write to urge you to build upon the critical infrastructure investment included in the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018 (P.L. 115-141, Division L) and further increase funding for public transportation and passenger rail in fiscal year (FY) 2019.  

The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018 will help improve public transit service, safety, and capacity, all while chipping away at the more than $90 billion transit state-of-good-repair backlog. We urge you to build upon this commitment and further address the critical public transit and passenger rail infrastructure needs facing the nation. 

We urge you to provide appropriations for federal transit programs authorized by the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) (P.L. 114-94) at the highest possible levels. In particular, we request that you continue to fund State of Good Repair and Bus and Bus Facilities grants above FAST Act levels. These investments support the national transportation network and are critical to main street businesses—87 percent of trips taken on public transportation directly impact the economy.  

We also urge you to fund Capital Investment Grants (CIG) at or above the FY 2018 appropriation. Furthermore, we request that the Committee on Appropriations continue to include the provisions requiring the Federal Transit Administration to advance qualified CIG projects through the Full Funding Grant Agreement process and obligate at least 85 percent of the funds by a specific date. Communities across the country are raising state and local funding for New Starts, Core Capacity, and Small Starts projects, but these worthy and vetted projects also rely on the necessary federal partnership. 

In addition, we request that you continue to provide increased federal funding for commuter, intercity, and high-speed passenger rail service. We urge you to fund the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) and Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair grants at or above the FY 2018 appropriation. Safety is the public transportation industry’s top priority and we request that you continue to enable commuter railroads to be eligible for these programs and use these grants for implementation of positive train control (PTC) technology. To date, the cost to commuter railroads of full implementation of PTC is estimated to be approximately $4 billion. In addition, this multi-billion-dollar investment does not include future operating and maintenance costs of PTC, currently estimated to range from $80 million to $130 million per year. 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 CRISI, Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair, Restoration and Enhancement, and Amtrak grant programs.

Moreover, we urge you to fund TIGER (BUILD) grants at or above the FY 2018 appropriation. Although the most recent round of TIGER grants only included two public transportation projects—a sharp departure from previous years—a well-funded, multi-modal discretionary grant program can and should support critical transit projects that reduce congestion, improve safety, and increase economic competitiveness.   

Finally, we urge you to fully appropriate authorized funding for research, workforce development, and technical assistance. We also request that you continue to provide critical funding for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to ensure safe, efficient, and reliable transportation in our nation’s capital.

Thank you for your strong support for public transportation and consideration of our priorities for FY 2019 THUD appropriations. We look forward to continuing to work with you to improve public transportation and benefit the nation.


Sincerely, 
paul skoutelas signature_blue_full name_01-2018.jpg
Paul P. Skoutelas
President and CEO

cc: Members of the Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies, Committee on Appropriations, U.S. House of Representatives
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