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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

APTA to fight proposed cuts in public transit funding

Paul Skoutelas
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The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) will oppose proposals that call for cutting public transportation and intercity passenger-rail programs to fund a national infrastructure initiative, the association announced last week.

APTA President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Skoutelas issued a statement last week after a White House representative outlined a plan at the U.S. Conference of Mayors that called for cutting existing funding for public transit infrastructure to pay for a national infrastructure program.

"This is not only disappointing, it is short-sighted and counterproductive," said Skoutelas, adding that the proposed reductions would harm the U.S. economy and communities of all sizes.

"As it stands now, America is severely under-investing in public transportation," he said. "The American Society of Civil Engineers rates public transit infrastructure a D minus, which is the lowest of any category in their surface transportation report card. These proposed cuts would make the industry's existing $90 billion of state-of-good-repair gap even worse."

Skoutelas noted that Congress rejected the Trump administration's proposed reductions in the 2018 budget, which included cuts to the Federal Transit Administration, Capital Investment Grants, the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program and Amtrak.

Congress also supported all those programs when it passed the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which authorized federal funding of surface transportation through fiscal-year 2020, Skoutelas noted.

"We call on the administration and Congress to identify serious, new and sustainable funding to strengthen and grow our transportation infrastructure – not cut it," he said.

President Trump is expected to include remarks on his long-awaited infrastructure proposal during tomorrow's State of the Union address.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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