APTA called on Congress to invest at least $15 billion in
public transportation citing it's recently completed survey of public transit
systems nationwide, which identified more than $15 billion in public
transportation capital projects that can be started in 90 days. It is estimated
that this investment in public transportation would support and create more
than 450,000 jobs. The vast majority of public transit systems also identified
additional needs beyond $15 billion for federal assistance to avoid employee
layoffs and service cuts.
According to APTA, research has shown that new jobs in
public transportation provide jobs to American workers in industries, which
have been hit hardest by the economic downturn, particularly construction and
Meanwhile, Mr. Oberstar (D., Minn.) called for a second
stimulus bill to provide at least $69 billion for highway and transit projects.
About $48 billion was secured for highway, transit and rail projects in this
year's economic stimulus package. According to a report in the Wall Street
Journal, Mr. Oberstar said stimulus spending on transportation has directly
sustained 21,000 jobs and supported an additional 130,000 indirectly.
Florida Senate President Jeff Atwater and House Speaker
Larry Cretul called a special lawmaking session to begin Thursday to dedicate
funds for Tri-Rail and advance plans for Central Florida's SunRail.
The proposal, which is still being drafted, calls for $15
million annually for South Florida's Tri-Rail system, would establish the
Florida Rail Enterprise to oversee all passenger rail, pay CSXT $1 billion for
tracks to build the 61-mile Orlando area SunRail system and spare taxpayers
from lawsuits should a freight accident occur on tracks shared with passenger
trains. Legislators hope that in passing the proposal it will show the state's
commitment to commuter rail and improve its chances of securing stimulus funds.
Currently, the Senate has 20 votes, one shy of the total
needed for the yet to be completed legislation to pass. The sticking point in
the proposal is that it currently has no legal protections for railroad
employees who would work on the SunRail commuter line once the state bought the
tracks from CSXT.
A final vote on the legislation will not occur until next
week, when legislators planned to be in Tallahassee for a week of committee