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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

House proposals to slash transit, eliminate HSR funding would cost 620,000 jobs, APTA says


A House proposal to cut more than one-third of federal funding to public transportation systems would result in the loss of 620,000 public- and private-sector jobs during a six-year period, according to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

During a national “Don’t X Out Public Transit” event yesterday, APTA — joined by representatives of labor unions and other organizations that support public transportation — released findings of a recent APTA survey designed to determine the impact such funding cuts would have on transit agencies.

“Safe and reliable public transportation is at risk,” APTA President William Millar said yesterday during a press conference.

On Sept. 8, the House Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Subcommittee reported out of committee a fiscal-year 2012 appropriations bill that included a 38 percent cut in federal funding for public transportation.

That action followed a move taken July 7 by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to propose cutting more than a third in federal funding for public transportation for the entire duration of the next six-year transportation bill.

The Sept. 8 measure by the THUD Subcommittee would “severely” cut funding for Amtrak and would include no funding for high-speed and intercity rail corridor initiatives, APTA officials said in a prepared statement.

An APTA analysis of the funding proposals and agency survey reveal “significant impacts on transit capital replacement, the ability to meet state-of-good-repair schedules (estimated by the Federal Transit Administration at $77 billion) and ability to provide service to communities across the nation,” APTA officials said in a report’s executive summary.

“Over a six-year authorization period … $17.2 billion in transportation projects would be forgone,” the report states, noting that the estimates are “conservative” and don’t factor in the loss of local matching funds.

— Julie Sneider

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/21/2011