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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

APTA: 2004 a good year for transit rail, but TEA-21 needs to be resolved in 2005

Yesterday, President George W. Bush wasn’t the only one sizing up state of affairs. The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) released a state of the transit industry address.

In 2004, public transportation ridership rose in many areas of the country, especially regions that added or extended service, APTA said. Last year, agencies opened 15 rail extensions and new rail lines were opened in Houston, Minneapolis, Charlotte, N.C., and Little Rock, Ark.

In November, voters passed 80 percent of the local transportation financing ballot initiatives, the largest of which was $4.7 billion for a Denver area light- and commuter-rail expansion.

"People have spoken loud and clear in support of public transportation," said APTA President William Millar in a prepared statement. "The results of these initiatives show that people want more transportation choices."

However, transit agencies have been unable to plan future projects because of the delay in extending the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, APTA said. Congress has extended the legislation six times since its September 2003 expiration. The current extension expires at the end of May.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/3/2005