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Rail News Home Passenger Rail

5/15/2003



Rail News: Passenger Rail

SAFETEA doesn't meet public transit needs, APTA says


The rail-freight contingent might like the Bush Administration’s Safe and Flexible Transportation Efficiency Act (SAFETEA), but at least one major passenger-rail player doesn’t. The proposal is a move in the wrong direction for transportation investment policy, according to a statement issued May 14 by American Public Transportation Association (APTA).



SAFETEA would decrease guaranteed public transit funding 8 percent by 2009. The funds would not "adequately address substantial growing infrastructure investment needs," APTA says.



For example, SAFETEA eliminates funding guarantees from the General Fund component of the federal transit program; before the component was initiated, authorized public transportation investment funds often were not appropriated, making receipt of funds unpredictable and driving away private-sector investment, APTA says.



The proposal also would increase state and local share for public transportation new start projects to 50 percent, requiring financially strapped local governments to come up with additional funds to continue transit investment programs, according to APTA's statement.



APTA plans to work with Congress and the Administration to increase support for public transportation through investing necessary funds in the fiscal-year 2004 budget and reauthorizing the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century.



SAFETEA can be viewed at www.dot.state.gov. Comments on the proposal can be submitted before May 23, and can be emailed to strategicplan@dot.gov; faxed to Strategic Plan Coordinator at (202) 366-7618; or mailed to U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Secretary, Attn: Strategic Plan Coordinator, Mail Stop: P-100, 400 Seventh Street, Washington, D.C. 20590.


Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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