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DART News Release

Media Relations Contact:
Virginia Miller, APTA

June 12, 2017

APTA Hosts Press Briefing on Top Transit Leaders' Reactions to Proposed Transit Cuts in Administration's FY18 Budget

Public transit leaders from across the country spoke at a press briefing hosted by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) about their deep concerns regarding the Trump Administration's FY18 budget proposal to phase out the Capital Improvement Grant (CIG) program.

Cuts to the CIG program would put public transit projects and the thousands of associated direct and indirect jobs at risk in more than 50 communities. The Economic Implications of Proposed Public Transit Capital Funding Cuts stated that 800,000 jobs would be at risk and there would be a possible loss of $90 billion in economic output nationally if this proposal was implemented.

"I must emphasize that APTA and its 1,500 members are very concerned about the Trump Administration's FY18 budget proposal to phase out federal investment of public transit programs that are vital to our local communities and millions of Americans," said Doran J. Barnes, APTA Chair and Executive Director, Foothill Transit. "The Administration's proposed cuts to public transit impact more than 50 projects in 23 states worth $38 billion in planned projects."

For a complete list of the more than 50 CIG public transit projects in 23 states that could be at risk if they don't have Full Funding Grant Agreements (FFGA) click HERE. (Note: All projects without FFGA status are at risk.)

"This proposal is wholly inconsistent with the Administration's approach to improve our nation's infrastructure," said Richard A. White, APTA Acting President and CEO. "It is contrary to the 35-year federal partnership that was created under the Reagan Administration, which has led to a rail renaissance that has transformed our nation's communities."

Noting that Congress reaffirmed this federal responsibility when it authorized $2.3 billion annually, through 2020, for the CIG program in the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, White said, "The federal government is an essential and critical funding partner for public transportation capital projects that help to create prosperous communities. Currently, the federal government covers 43 percent of all capital spending for public transit."

Last November, communities nationwide approved nearly $200 billion in local and state ballot measures for public transportation. Voters approved these local funds with the expectation that they would be matched with federal funds for implementing capital projects.

"Now it is time for the federal government to step up and match the local and state funds for transit projects that have been approved by the voters," said White. "It takes investment from all levels of government and the private sector to improve our public transit systems and enhance the communities they serve."

APTA calls on the Trump Administration and Congress to reject these cuts and reaffirm its support for these programs as part of the FY18 budget process. In addition, APTA calls on Congress to include increased investments in public transportation as part of any new infrastructure initiative.

Quotes from Public Transportation Leaders

Peter Rogoff, CEO, Sound Transit, Seattle, WA
"Continued strong federal partnership will be instrumental to completing voter-approved projects, giving our commuters the choice to escape ever-worsening congestion. The voters of Puget Sound have already voted to tax themselves for the local share to make these projects happen. They now have the right to expect a reasonable return on their federal taxes."

Nuria Fernandez, General Manager/CEO, Valley Transportation Authority, San Jose, CA
"The federal government has been an important partner for transportation infrastructure. The voters of Silicon Valley approved a new local tax on themselves with the expectation that the federal government will, once again, maintain the support it's always provided."

John D. Porcari, Interim Executive Director, Gateway Program
"The Gateway Program is the most urgent infrastructure project in America. Ten percent of the nation's gross domestic product relies upon single points of failure in a 106-year old bridge and tunnel. There is no time to waste in advancing this crucial project."

Mark Fuhrmann, Deputy General Manager, Metro Transit, Minneapolis, MN
"Without the CIG program to match the nearly $1.6 billion in local funding already committed, the Green Line and Blue Line extension projects would not move forward. The CIG program MUST continue for a successful build-out of the Twin Cities METRO system to realize the regions' transit vision, improve access to employment and activity centers, and provide jobs for the forecasted 14,000 construction workers who bring home paychecks to main street USA to support their families and local businesses."

Gary Thomas, President/Executive Director, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, Dallas, TX
"Sustainable, predictable and substantial federal funding is essential if transit agencies like DART are going to be able to continue providing effective mobility choices for our customers. Our customers and stakeholders are ready for our projects to get going so they can begin taking full advantage in their investment in mobility."

Sharon Greene, Senior Vice President, Global Head of Finance Practice for HDR
"The impact of the Administration budget cuts would lead to a loss of jobs in small communities across the country. Additionally, while public private partnerships are an important financing tool, they cannot replace the federal funding that is needed for America's public transit infrastructure projects." (Click here to see rail manufacturing jobs across America infographic.)

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of more than 1,500 public and private sector organizations, engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed passenger rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. APTA is the only association in North America that represents all modes of public transportation. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical transit services and products.

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