Tuesday, April 18, 2017

APTA fighting proposed transit budget cuts

Written by  Stuart Chirls, senior editor, Railway Age
APTA fighting proposed transit budget cuts Wikimedia Commons

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is taking the fight to Capitol Hill to oppose President Trump's budget proposal to cut major public transit appropriations for the remainder of fiscal 2017 and 2018.

 

APTA said its Government Affairs team is working aggressively with members of Congress to make the case for continued funding.

The association urged members during the Congressional recess to open their facilities to members of Congress to demonstrate the value of public transit and reject the proposed funding changes.

The recess ends April 21 for the Senate and April 24 for the House.

APTA has put together a ready-to-use "First 100 Days" toolkit featuring resources to facilitate these visits, including backgrounders, talking points, customizable invitations and other material.

The group said that Trump's proposed cuts to the Capital Investment Grants (CIG) and TIGER grants programs put more than 50 projects in 23 states at risk. APTA has taken that message directly to affected members of Congress. As a result, more than 100 members of Congress have written letters in support of CIG funding as part of the annual appropriations process, it said.

Other recent activities include:

  • APTA is running radio ads in three regions with projects that would be shut down if the cuts occur. A generic version of the ad is included in APTA's toolkit.
  • APTA signed on to letters to the leaders of the House and Senate Budget Committees—Reps. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) and John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) and Sens. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)—regarding the need to address the shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund with a long-term solution and fully fund all FAST Act programs, including CIGs.
  • APTA sent a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees—Reps. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) and Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and Sens. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.)—calling for funding of two new FAST Act programs: rail safety grants and rail maintenance grants.
  • Voices for Public Transit, a grassroots organization APTA supports, reported that its community advocates have sent more than 5,000 letters to members of Congress opposing Trump's fiscal 2018 proposal.

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