The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) has released its recommendations for authorization of the transportation bill that is set to expire at the end of September 2014.
The APTA plan calls on Congress to authorize a $100.4-billion federal transit program over six years, which would grow the current $10.7-billion annual program to $22.2 billion by 2020. It also calls for a number of policy changes in the program that the association says will ensure that the industry provides effective and efficient public transportation.
“The industry has come together and developed a consensus recommendation that creates American jobs and addresses the growing demand for public transportation,” said Peter Varga, chair of APTA and CEO of the Rapid in Grand Rapid Michigan. “Our future is riding on public transportation and we are moving forward to work with Congress to implement this plan that will help our local communities grow.”
According to APTA, the return on investment of its recommendations will result in an additional 1.1 million jobs created or sustained annually, $66 billion in business sales generated yearly and $9.5 billion in local, state, and federal tax revenue generated each year. Meaning, for every $1 communities invest in public transportation, approximately $4 is generated in economic returns.
“This multimodal plan we are recommending fosters community growth by driving economic development and revitalizes neighborhoods,” said Michael Melaniphy, President and CEO of APTA. “Increasing investment in public transportation and roads is essential for growing our economy in the U.S. and remaining competitive in a global economy.”
Some highlights of the APTA recommendations for authorization of the federal transportation funding bill includes authorizing a public transportation program that provides strong funding for no less than six years; establishes a new dedicated Trust Fund funding mechanism that supplements existing dedicated revenues for the Highway Trust Fund and the Mass Transit Account; increasing and balance federal capital investments in programs for formula funding, new starts and extensions and state of good repair; ensures existing public transportation infrastructure and facilities are maintained and updated through major capital investments in current and future projects and enacts a robust and long-term program for investment in high-speed and intercity passenger rail.
In support of its recommendations to Congress, the association also launched a new nationwide integrated outreach campaign called “Where Public Transportation Goes, Communities Grow,” which features research-based advertising, public relations and social media, as well as a digital grassroots outreach initiative.