WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 30, 2021) – Today, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and a broad coalition of 45 industry partners sent letters urging Congress and the Administration to provide at least $10 billion of additional public transit investment in the reconciliation bill, the Build Back Better Act. The letters also urge Congress and the Administration to provide significant, dedicated high-speed rail funding in the bill. The letters’ signatories include a broad coalition of national associations representing public transit, high-speed rail, labor, environmental, local government, mobility, and construction interests.
“These bold investments in public transportation in the Build Back Better Act will enable us to tackle climate change, advance equity, and meet the growing and evolving mobility demands of our communities,” said APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas. “Investing in public transit and high-speed rail will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and public health, and help transform our nation’s transportation network for a sustainable future. Public transportation creates access to opportunities, including jobs, health care, and education, which can help our communities address the equity challenges that they face.”
“The bipartisan group of Senators and the White House agreed to boost transit funding by $49 billion in the deal they proudly touted,” said Beth Osborne, Director of Transportation for America. “But they dropped $10 billion, abandoning their own deal for no reason. Now it is up to the House to restore this funding which will be essential to getting people back to jobs and to essential services and addressing our climate goals.”
“Public transportation and high-speed rail systems connect working families to new opportunities and support economic growth in local and regional communities. For millions of working Americans, access to a reliable, safe bus, subway, or rail line can be life changing. Bold investments in these systems—and the good jobs they help create and sustain—are central to the president’s Build Back Better agenda,” said Greg Regan, President of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD).
“Transit is one of the most important investments we can make to address racial inequity and tackle the climate crisis,” said Bianca Oden, a senior strategist at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). “Congress should deliver substantial new investment to expand service, provide long-overdue upgrades and support jobs. Without the necessary support for transit we will all be worse off.”
“Our nation’s transit systems must be modernized, and our crumbling transportation infrastructure must be fixed. This is a bipartisan issue that everyone should support since it benefits all Americans. We call on the Administration and Congress to provide an additional $10 billion for public transit in the reconciliation bill to help boost our nation’s public transit, create good jobs, and keep our communities and economies moving,” said ATU International President John Costa.
“Transportation is the largest source of climate-disrupting emissions in the US, and a major source of air pollution, especially in low-income communities and communities of color. But Congress has the power to change that. All communities deserve access to clean and reliable mobility options. To move away from our over-reliance on personal cars, Congress must improve transit systems and fund high-speed rail. We must see bigger, dedicated investments in public transit and high-speed rail in the reconciliation bill to prioritize equity, health, job creation, and climate action that meets the scale of our climate crisis,” said Sierra Club President Ramón Cruz
“Federal investment in transit creates good-paying union jobs all over the country for one of the most diverse workforces of any industry. Supporting the people who work in this sector through training and other programs is exactly the kind of priority envisioned in the President’s American Jobs Plan. We can’t build back better without getting transit and rail workers the resources they need to build, operate, and maintain our transportation systems,” said TWU President John Samuelsen.
“The Senate infrastructure bill fell far short on transit, failing to maintain even the inadequate 80-20 split between highway and transit funding,” said Corinne Kisner, Executive Director of the National Association of City Transportation Officials. “Through reconciliation, the House has an opportunity to provide transit its fair share, make good on the agreement reached through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, and invest in the climate and equity outcomes only transit can deliver.”
APTA and this broad coalition look forward to working with Congress and the Administration on the reconciliation bill and urge our country’s leaders to use this once-in-a-generation opportunity to provide the public transportation investments necessary to address our nation’s climate and equity challenges and build back better.
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of 1,500 public- and private-sector organizations which represent a $80 billion industry that directly employs 448,000 people and supports millions of private sector jobs. APTA members are 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.