“On behalf of the 1,500 public and private sector members of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), and the millions of people who ride public transit every day, we strongly oppose any cuts to public transportation and intercity passenger rail programs to fund an infrastructure initiative.
“According to reports, a White House representative outlined a plan at the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting that would cut existing funding for public transit infrastructure to pay for the initiative. This is not only disappointing, it is short sighted and counterproductive.
“These reductions would harm the American economy and communities of all sizes. As it stands now, America is severely underinvesting in public transportation. The American Society of Civil Engineers rates public transit infrastructure a D minus, which is the lowest of any category in their surface transportation report card. These proposed cuts would make the industry’s existing $90 billion of State-of-Good-Repair gap even worse.
“Public transportation is an integral part of America’s infrastructure. It is an essential element in making the nation’s transportation network function. Facilitating efficient surface transportation, including public transportation, has long been recognized as a federal responsibility and it is critical to our global economic competitiveness. In fact, 87 percent of the 35 million trips taken each day on public transportation directly impact the economy – because Americans ride public transit to commute to work or to spend money at retail businesses and entertainment venues.
“According to a recent APTA poll, 3 out of 4 Americans support increased public transportation investment.
“If the cuts the Administration is suggesting mirror the reductions in its proposed 2018 budget for the Federal Transit Administration, Capital Investment Grants (CIG), the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program (TIGER), and Amtrak, Congress already rejected this measure in the 2018 appropriations process.
“Congress affirmed this federal responsibility when it authorized $2.3 billion annually, through 2020, for the CIG program in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which was overwhelmingly approved by bipartisan votes of 83-16 in the Senate and 359-65 in the House of Representatives. In the FAST Act, Congress also saw the value in Amtrak and authorized nearly $5.5 billion through 2020 for Amtrak’s national network. Additionally, in recognition of TIGER’s huge popularity, Congress annually funds this program at significant levels, which is routinely oversubscribed and supports important multimodal projects that do not always lend themselves to the traditional formula funding programs.
“APTA calls on the Administration and Congress to support these programs. APTA believes an infrastructure initiative that builds on, and complements, the FAST Act provides a unique opportunity for Congress to address the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund, state-of-good-repair backlogs, the need for increased capacity, and safety issues. We call on the Administration and Congress to identify serious, new and sustainable funding to strengthen and grow our transportation infrastructure – not cut it.”
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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.