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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

FTA Administrator Rogoff: Improving transit means making difficult choices

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Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff told business and transit stakeholders gathered in Boston that the Obama Administration is committed to keeping the nation's transit systems efficient and maintained and asked for a similar commitment from them.

"Our transit systems must be safe, reliable and efficient," Rogoff stated. "I know transit riders will not put up with dirty stations, unreliable service, slowed train speeds, inoperable escalators - especially those who have other options. We need to attract and maintain riders, not push them back onto the highway."

Rogoff made the remarks today as the keynote speaker at the conference "Next Stop: A Summit on the Future of Transit" in Boston. The purpose of the summit was two-fold: to elevate the need for soundly-funded and efficient transportation from a local issue to one of greater national importance and to engage communities as key stakeholders in ensuring continued reliable transit.

He asked those who attended the summit to make an honest assessment about the state of their current transit system when making financial decisions including system maintenance and system expansion.

"At times like these, it's more important than ever to have the courage to ask a hard question: If you can't afford to operate the system you have, why does it make sense for us to partner in your expansion?" Rogoff said. "Might it make more sense for us to roll up our sleeves and target our resources on repairing the system we have?"

The FTA is responsible for the administration and oversight of federal funding for public transportation. In Fiscal Year 2010, the agency will provide $10.4 billion for transit throughout the U.S.

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