Today, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), in conjunction with the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI), released a study which underscores the public’s need for access to reliable public transportation and demonstrates broad support for investment in the nation’s aging transportation infrastructure. Its analysis shows that over 75 percent of Americans support using tax dollars to create, expand and improve public transportation in their communities, and that close to 70 percent believe Congress should increase the level of investment for public transportation infrastructure.
“It is time for Congress to recognize the clear message from Americans around the nation: we support investing our tax dollars to expand and maintain our public transportation systems,” said Michael Melaniphy, President and CEO of APTA. “Investing in our public transit infrastructure is a key ingredient to growing the economy in our local communities. It is about creating jobs and improving the access to those jobs. This can only happen with long-term investment.”
The U.S. Senate recently passed a short-term extension of the federal program for surface transportation funding (MAP-21), maintaining current funding levels only until the end of July 2015. According to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and APTA’s Bottom Line report, more than $43 billion in annual investments are needed over six years to address investment needs for the nation’s public transportation infrastructure. Currently, there is just $17.1 billion invested annually in public transit. In addition, there is a severe backlog of $88 billion to bring America’s existing public transit infrastructure just into a state of good repair.
In addition to demonstrating the American public’s support for investments into our country’s transportation infrastructure, the Mineta Institute and APTA study also highlights the value public transportation adds to communities across the country:
• More than 80 percent agreed that public transportation provides an affordable way for people to get around;
• According to more than 82 percent, public transportation provides people with vital connections to important resources like jobs, schools, and medical facilities;
• Roughly 80 percent said that public transportation connects people to jobs, and thus helps to fuel economic growth and development.
• 67 percent of those surveyed stated that public transportation creates a cleaner environment and reduces carbon emissions.
“Public transportation infrastructure is essential to the fabric of our society, and the incremental stop-gaps being passed by Congress are not enough to support growing ridership and our aging infrastructure,” added Melaniphy. “We call upon Congress and the Administration to invest in a long-term, sustainable funding package that enables transportation infrastructure to meet demand and allow for safe travel.”
MTI conducted 1,503 telephone interviews with individuals across the United States. The margin of error for the total sample is ± 2.53 percentage points, at the 95% confidence level. Smaller subgroups will have larger margins of error.
# # #
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of 1,500 public and private sector organizations, engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed passenger rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. APTA is the only association in North America that represents all modes of public transportation. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical transit services and products. More than 90 percent of the people using public transportation in the United States and Canada ride APTA member systems.