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American Public Transportation Association

 To the President and Congressional Leaders on the Government Shutdown and its Impact on the Public Transportation Industry


President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

The Honorable Mitch McConnell 
Majority Leader
United States Senate
S-230, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20510 

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House
United States House of Representatives
 H-232, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Charles E. Schumer 
Minority Leader
United States Senate
S-224, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
Minority Leader
United States House of Representatives
H-204, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Mr. President, Leader McConnell, Madam Speaker, Leader Schumer, and Leader McCarthy:

On behalf of America’s public transportation industry, which contributes $71 billion to the U.S. economy annually, directly employs more than 420,000 workers, and supports millions of private-sector jobs, we urge you to find common ground and immediately reopen the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Public transportation is the lifeline for millions of Americans of all ages and incomes in urban, suburban, and rural communities. Our public transit systems deliver 10 billion trips a year, connecting people to what they need, want, and aspire to achieve. We strengthen communities, spur economic growth, reduce congestion, improve air quality, save time and money, and advance a better quality of life.

Under the government shutdown, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is not able to execute grants, cooperative agreements, or contracts. Public transportation agencies, which rely on grants to support operations and capital projects, are not receiving any reimbursements for previously approved projects and expended funds.

As a result, the shutdown is having critical impacts on public transportation agencies that are compounding daily. Over the past week (January 9 – 15), the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) conducted a survey of its public transportation agencies to assess the effects of the government shutdown. More than one-third (36 percent) of public transit agency members indicated that the government shutdown is substantially impacting their operations and/or capital programs. Agencies report cutting back service, delaying hiring, transferring capital funds to operations, using reserve funds, and other direct impacts. For instance, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) estimates that it is losing approximately $400,000 in fare and parking revenue each weekday of the shutdown. With each passing day, these impacts only get worse.

The government shutdown could delay certification of State Safety Oversight (SSO) programs for states that have not yet received FTA certification, which is required by April 15. Similarly, commuter rail agencies are increasingly concerned that the shutdown could affect implementation of positive train control systems.

The shutdown is also beginning to delay important progress to repair, maintain, and expand needed public transportation services. Delaying these projects adds costs to the current $90 billion backlog in state-of-good-repair priorities, prevents expansion of public transit in some of the nation’s fastest-growing communities, and impedes mobility for millions of people who rely on public transportation to get to a job, school, health care, or other essential services. Moreover, these impacts create adverse economic ripples at the local, state, and national levels—on manufacturing and construction employment, on infrastructure investment and business development, and on competitiveness and productivity.

APTA strongly urges Congress and the administration to find common ground and end the DOT shutdown.
 
Sincerely,
paul skoutelas signature_blue_full name_01-2018.jpg
Paul P. Skoutelas 
President and CEO​

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David M. Stackrow
Chair
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