DART News Release
Media Relations Contact:
February 4, 2009
Nearly 800 Public Transit Projects Identified; Ready-To-Go Within 90 Days of Federal Funding
American Workers Need Public Transportation Projects in the Recovery Package
More than 440,000 American jobs will be created and sustained if Congress includes $15.9 billion for public transit projects in the economic recovery legislation.
Calling on Congress to take immediate action, William W. Millar, president of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) said, "The public transportation industry is ready to help America get back on its feet and help people get to work this spring. With nearly 800 public transportation projects that are ready-to-go within 90 days of federal funding, jobs will be created at a rapid pace.
"Given how quickly public transportation projects can be started, public transportation should be an essential, well-funded piece of this critical recovery legislation. American jobs are depending on this," emphasized Millar.
The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed H.R.1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. This important legislation proposed $12 billion for public transportation projects and $1.1 billion for intercity passenger rail, of which $800 million is designated for Amtrak and $300 million for intercity passenger rail grants. The current proposed Senate legislation offers only $8.4 billion for public transportation, $1.1 billion for intercity passenger rail grants, and an additional $2 billion for high speed rail.
"Investing in much needed public transportation infrastructure is not only good for the economy and for job creation, it's good for promoting energy independence and for combating climate change," said Millar. "Now is the time for change and with significant public transportation investment in this legislation, public transit will bring positive changes in the three areas of economy, energy independence and environment. The Senate bill also includes $5.5 billion for a new multi-modal competitive grant program for states and local governments, which could be used to fund transit and rail projects.
Every year, 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline are saved thanks to public transportation use in the United States. From a climate change perspective, public transportation saves 37 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year. The carbon savings from public transportation use is the equivalent to the emissions of 4.9 million households - which would be every household in Washington, DC, New York City, Atlanta, Denver, and Los Angeles combined.
Noting that 10.3 billion trips were taken on public transportation in the United States in 2007 - a 50 year high and a modern ridership record, Millar said, "People throughout America have demonstrated that they want improved public transportation service. They have showed this by taking public transportation in modern record numbers and also by voting overwhelmingly for the passage of public transportation state and local ballot initiatives.
Despite record ridership numbers, funding sources for public transportation have fallen on the state and local levels, due largely to lower revenues because of the economic downturn. Last summer APTA did a survey which revealed that 85 percent of public transit systems were experiencing capacity problems.
"Investing in public transportation will not only be good for our country's economic well-being, as well as addressing the public demand for greater public transit service," said Millar. "It's a win-win situation just waiting for congressional action."
For more information on the economic recovery legislation, go the APTA web site at www.apta.com and visit the Economic Recovery Info section on the front page for more details. Activist pro-transit citizens can read the Legislative Alerts in the Economic Recovery Info section to find what actions need to be taken with federal representatives.
APTA is a nonprofit international association of 1,500 member organizations including public transportation systems; planning, design, construction and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; and state associations and departments of transportation. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical public transportation services and products. APTA members serve more than 90 percent of persons using public transportation in the United States and Canada.
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