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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

APTA calls on Congress to hike transit funding by $11.5 billion annually

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is asking Congress to approve transportation legislation that would authorize a $100.4 billion federal transit program over six years.

Unveiled yesterday at its legislative conference in Washington, D.C., APTA's recommendations call for increasing the current level of federal funding of U.S. transit systems by $11.5 billion per year. The proposal would grow the current $10.7 billion annual program to $22.2 billion by 2020, APTA officials said in a press release.

The return on investment from APTA's proposals would result in an additional 1.1 million jobs created or sustained annually, $66 billion in business sales generated yearly, and $9.5 billion in local, state and federal tax revenue generated each year. For every $1 communities invest in public transportation, approximately $4 would be generated in economic returns, APTA officials said.

"This multi-modal plan we are recommending fosters community growth by driving economic development and revitalizes neighborhoods," said APTA President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Melaniphy. "Increasing investment in public transportation and roads is essential for growing our economy in the U.S. and remaining competitive in a global economy."

APTA made the recommendations as Congress prepares to consider legislation to reauthorize the existing surface transportation funding law known as MAP-21, which expires on Sept. 30.

APTA's recommendations also include:

• authorizing a public transportation program that provides strong funding for no less than six years;

• establishing a new dedicated Trust Fund funding mechanism that supplements existing dedicated revenues for the Highway Trust Fund and the Mass Transit Account;

• increasing and balancing federal capital investments in programs for formula funding, new starts and extensions, state of good repair and bus facilities;

• ensuring existing public transportation infrastructure and facilities are maintained and updated through major capital investments in current and future projects; and

• enacting a long-term program for investment in high-speed and intercity passenger rail.

In support of its proposals, APTA also launched a new, nationwide outreach campaign titled, "Where Public Transportation Goes, Communities Grow." It will feature advertising, public relations and social media, as well as a digital grassroots outreach initiative.

"Investment in public transportation infrastructure drives growth," said Melaniphy.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/12/2014