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American Public Transportation Association

 Transit News



Mantill Williams

 Growth Trends Propel Public Transit to $55 Billion Industry

 Report Makes Case for Business Investment in Public Transportation

New Orleans, LA – October 4, 2011 –With the backdrop of the world’s largest showcase for the public transportation industry - the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) EXPO 2011, the association released an updated report making the case for investment in the public transportation industry by detailing the enormous growth in ridership, service provided and funding levels. The report, “The Case for Business Investment in Public Transportation,” reinforces that there has been a steady growth trend over the past three decades and it is now a $55 billion industry. The data in this report point to an even more prominent future standing.

The report shows that America’s public transit systems carried more than 10 billion passenger trips for the 5th consecutive year in 2010, the highest levels since 1957. It also shows support for better public transportation through public approval of transit ballot measures. These ballot measures have a 73 percent approval rate over the past 12 years.

“Community leaders realize the combined support for public transit from all levels of government is a shot in the arm for their local economy,” said APTA President William Millar. “This industry provides a great opportunity for those wanting to grow their business while supporting and building the transportation infrastructure this country desperately needs.”

According to the report, there have been consistent, diverse and stable sources of funding for public transportation. With funding coming from a mix of federal, state, local and transit agency sources, the transit industry revenues reached $38.9 billion in 2009 for agency operations and $18.2 billion for agency capital programs. The report states that since 1995, capital funding provided by the combined total of directly generated and local sources has increased 180 percent.

“These local, state and federal investments help us to put Americans to work building the rail tracks and equipment that will move America’s economy forward,” said Charles Wochele, Chair of the APTA Business Member Board of Governors and Vice President for Industry and Government Relations at Alstom Transport. “We look forward to partnering with the federal, state and local governments as we help make public transit projects a reality in local communities.”

APTA noted for each $1 billion invested in public transportation, 36,000 jobs are supported and created.

The increase in ridership has led to the dramatic growth of the number of rail systems and vehicle replacements. The number of rail systems has increased more than two and one-half times since 1980. There were only 10 commuter rail systems in 1980 but by 2010 there were 28. The number of light rail systems increased five-fold, from 7 in 1980 to 35 in 2010. The roadway vehicle fleet now exceeds 150,000 with rail cars bringing the total to 172,000. The entire vehicle fleet grew from 116,000 in 1995 to over 172,000 in 2010.

“This report shows that the growth trends in public transportation makes investing in the industry a smart business decision, said Jeffrey Wharton, Chair of APTA’s Business Development Committee and President of IMPulse NC. “Our investment in providing and servicing railcar infrastructure has been great for our business, but more importantly it helps grow a sustainable, modern transportation system that creates American jobs and spurs long-term economic growth.”

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The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of 1,500 public and private member organizations, engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. More than 90 percent of the people using public transportation in the United States and Canada are served by APTA member systems.

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