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Thursday, May 20, 2010

APTA president says new Climate and Energy Bill diverts transit funds

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"The climate change and energy draft legislation ‘The  American Power Act' proposed by Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) undermines investment in one of the most-effective tools consumers use to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and combat climate change - public transportation," says a statement by American Public Transportation Association President William Millar. The current climate change and energy proposal diverts the vast majority of new transportation revenue to areas other than public transit and transportation investment.

"As an industry, we are strong advocates for our country to seriously address our energy climate challenges. However, this bill misses the opportunity for public transportation to play an even greater role in helping to reduce our independence on foreign oil and the nation's green house gases.

"Senators Kerry and Lieberman are long-time supporters of public transportation. We look forward to working with the Senators to address our concerns.
 Although the legislation would generate $19.5 billion in revenues from transportation motor fuels in 2013, 77 percent of the revenue would be diverted away from investment in public transportation and other surface transportation in the first year. In later years as the price of carbon increases, the percentage diverted could be as much as 91 percent.
Today the transit industry plays a major role in reducing our dependence on foreign oil and protecting our environment. Public transit use saves the country 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline annually. It also prevents 37 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from going into the air every year.

"We urge Congress to invest 100 percent of the revenue generated from transportation use to the nation's growing transportation needs. Congress has used revenue from motor fuel fees for transportation improvements since 1956, and today these fees support our public transportation systems as well all other modes of surface transportation. The current level of transportation funding in the draft bill is insufficient to maintain, much less improve public transit services.

"In order to help achieve energy independence and provide safe and reliable transit service, revenues from transportation use should continue to be invested to improve the nation's public transportation and other surface transportation systems."

APTA joined with 28 other transportation-industry-related groups to send a letter to Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman regarding the climate and energy bill "The American Power Act."

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