Posts Tagged ‘American Public Transportation Association’

Transit Agencies Seek More Emergency Aid

May 10, 2020

Leaders of 15 public transit agencies have written to Congress seeking additional emergency aid for public transportation.

The letter was signed by the heads of agencies in Cleveland, Cincinnati, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle, San Francisco, Newark, Oakland (California), Washington, Miami, Atlanta, and San Carlos (California.).

The letter did not specify a dollar amount but in a news release the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York said its estimates show transit agencies in the United States need $32 billion to enable them to get through the remainder of 2020 and into 2021.

The Rail Passengers Association said on Friday the American Public Transportation Association wrote a similar letter seeking $23.8 billion in emergency assistance.

That funding would be divided into $19 billion provided through the Emergency Relief Program, which would be distributed proportionally to all public transit agencies with a demonstrated need; and $4.75 billion provided through Urbanized Area Formula Grants, Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities Formula Grants; and Rural Area Formula Grants.

There would be no required local of state match of the funding.

The letter from the transit agencies said they need the aid to survive the COVID-19 pandemic and would supplement the $25 billion in emergency aid Congress approved for public transportation in March.

The letter said since that aide was approved, “a fuller picture has emerged of  . . . losses from dedicated transportation revenue streams, such as farebox, sales taxes, motor fuel taxes, tolls, mortgage-related taxes and other user fees.”

The letter said the usual funding sources for public transportation have taken “a massive hit.”

The transit heads said their systems will not be able to support the regions they serve without replenishing those losses.

“Our regions cannot recover without public transportation, and the nation cannot recover without resurgent economies in our regions,” the letter said.

APTA Promotes Public Transportation Use

April 29, 2019

In an effort to get more people to ride public transportation, the American Public Transportation Association launched an awareness campaign known as National Get on Board Day.

APTA described its as an education and awareness campaign aimed at emphasizing the significance of public transportation in local communities.
In a news release, APTA said more than 200 public transit agencies hosted activities, events and promotions to highlight the benefits of taking the bus or train.

Among the benefits, APTA said, is saving $837 a month by the average household using public transportation and using just one car.

Surveys have found that about 34 million people take public transportation daily. Although 77 percent of respondents described public transportation as the backbone of a mobile lifestyle just 50 percent said they had access to frequent public transportation service.

APTA said public transportation systems have more than $232 billion in critical projects in need of investment that would stimulate a 4-to-1 return of $928 million in economic activity over the next 20 years.

Transit Needs $232B in Infrastructure Investments

March 23, 2019

America’s public transportation systems need at least $232 billion in investments over the next 10 years in order to bring their infrastructure to a state of good repair, said the American Public Transportation Association.

APTA said it has discussed its findings with congressional staff members attending a legislative conference in Washington.

The study cited a number of sources, including a 2015 U.S. Department of Transportation infrastructure status report that concluded there is a $89.8-billion backlog of spending needed on state of good repair transit projects.

The report also included $51.2-billion in projects awaiting review for funding from the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grant program.

Other data came from a survey of APTA members, 55 of which named 169 additional projects costing $91 billion.

Poll Supports Infrastructure Legislation

February 7, 2019

Americans want to see bi-partisan cooperation to approve broad infrastructure legislation, the American Public Transportation Association said.

APTA cited the results of a poll conducted Jan. 23-24 by Rasmussen Reports for APTA and the American Road & Transportation Builders Association.

In a news release, APTA said 88 percent of Republican and Democratic likely voters and 84 percent of those not aligned with either party who responded to the survey supported a bipartisan infrastructure bill.

The poll found that 96 percent of those surveyed agreed improving infrastructure such as roads, bridges, public transit, water systems and the power grid is either “very important” or “somewhat important” to both future U.S. economic growth and quality of life.

Public Transit Ridership Down in 3rd Quarter 2018

January 15, 2019

The American Public Transportation Association said that there were 2.5 billion trips on public transportation systems during the third quarter of 2018, which was down 1.75 percent compared with ridership in third-quarter 2017 ridership.

Year over year, rail ridership was down on heavy- and light-rail systems, but up by 0.7 percent  on commuter-rail systems.

In a news release APTA said more than half of commuter railroads posted ridership increases in the third quarter.

“In order to increase mobility options, public transit systems are increasing frequency, improving routing, experimenting with fare changes, and engaging in partnerships to offer the best service possible to meet customers’ needs,” said APTA President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Skoutelas.

Commuter railroads logged a combined ridership of 126.6 million trips during the third quarter, with 18 of 31 them reporting increases.

Commuter-rail systems that logged double-digit ridership increases in the quarter included Orlando, Florida, (70 percent); San Rafael, California, (65.8 percent); and Stockton, California, (10.5 percent).

Ridership on heavy-rail systems (subways and elevated trains) fell 2.4 percent to about 916.3 million trips in the quarter compared with a year ago. Increases were registered in Philadelphia (7.8 percent); San Juan, Puerto Rico (6.4 percent); Miami (5.9 percent); Atlanta, (1.4 percent); and Lindenwold, New Jersey (0.1 percent).

On light-rail systems (modern streetcars, trolleys and heritage trolleys), ridership in the quarter dipped 3.6 percent to 133.2 million trips compared with the year-ago period. However, ridership grew in only eight out of 27 systems. Agencies that reported double-digit light-rail ridership gains were Charlotte, North Carolina, (55.3 percent); Seattle-King County Metro (21.6 percent); Hampton, Virginia, (11.5 percent); and Houston (10.8 percent).

Report Links Public Transit and Lifestyles

December 15, 2018

The American Public Transportation Association said this week that nearly 80 percent of commuters surveyed view public transit as the “backbone” of a lifestyle that includes current and future modes of transportation and technologies.

The industry group said most commuters consider a range of conveyances as public transportation, including trains, buses, ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft, bike/car-share, autonomous vehicles and scooters.

A report issued by APTA said public transportation has been disrupted by new technology, data capabilities and business platforms, according to the report.

“Technological change and generational change will make people more likely to use multitransit options and will allow the transit industry to reach new users,” the report said. “For example, new technologies and travel options are expected to reduce the affinity for car ownership, particularly as younger travelers are more open to using multiple modes to commute.”

Taking aim at critics of public transportation, the report said these changes are unlikely to reduce the need for public transit but instead mean that transit agencies must adapt to become “mobility managers” for commuters.

Managing mobility will be critical for public transit agencies when commuters have the option to take a train, bus, bicycle, autonomous vehicle or any combination of modes to get to their destination, the report states.

“Public transportation can move more people efficiently in less space; as travel options continue to grow, consumers will need a way to make the various travel choices clear and routine; and as consumers recognize growing income inequality and shrinking data privacy, the need to protect the public interest and serve the vulnerable will grow, as well,” the report said.

The survey was used qualitative focus group and a quantitative nationwide survey with a strong focus on millennials. It was conducted by Anazalone Liszt Grove with additional data provided by the National Academy of Sciences and other data sources.

Poll Finds 74% Favor More Transit Aid

July 25, 2018

A large majority of Americans believe that Congress should increase public transit funding, the American Public Transportation Association said this week.

A poll conducted for APTA by the Mineta Transportation Institution found 74 percent of respondents favored increased federal transit funding and 80 percent support using tax dollars for creating, expanding and improving public transportation in their communities.

The poll also found 80 percent of respondents said public transit is important to communities because it “helps businesses flourish.”

The survey collected data from 1,201 interviews with individuals across the United States.

Trump Infrastructure Plan Gets Mixed Rerviews

February 14, 2018

The Trump Administration’s proposed infrastructure plan has been released to mixed reviews from the transportation sector.

A qualified positive review came from the Association of American Railroads, which called the plan a start in a discussion about infrastructure needs.

In a prepared statement, AAR President and CEO Edward Hamberger said the trade organization “particularly welcomes the efforts to streamline the federal permitting processes, including in the proposal’s attempt to codify executive orders into law while also strengthening existing processes.”

However, the American Public Transportation Association expressed concern about proposed “deep cuts” in federal programs that fund public transit infrastructure.

“The $200 billion proposed by the administration for infrastructure would be paid for by cutting funding for critical public transportation infrastructure programs, including the Capital Improvement Grants, Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program, and Amtrak in the fiscal-year 2019 budget,” APTA said in a statement. “This would be a big mistake and counterproductive to fostering prosperous communities.”

APTA did commend the administration’s commitment to strengthening American infrastructure.

President Trump has proposed that states and local communities match federal funds they receive to implement infrastructure improvement projects. It is also seeking to encourage private-sector investors in public works projects.

The plan would expand the use of tax-exempt debt, allow states to add tolls on interstate highways, and make it easier to lease airports and other public assets.

The AAR said a key component of any infrastructure plan needs to be a long-term solution to shoring up the Highway Trust Fund.

It noted that such a proposal was not included in Trump’s infrastructure plan.

“Policymakers should make every effort to return surface transportation funding to a truly equitable, user-pay system as originally designed,” Hamberger said.

APTA said it will work toward a bipartisan solution that continues and expands the “historic federal support” that’s necessary to address public transit needs, including a $90 billion backlog of the transit industry’s state-of-good repair needs.

“Funding public transportation projects is aligned with the administration’s focus on funding major transformative projects, supporting rural communities, streamlining the federal permitting and approval processes, and investing in a high-skilled, competitive workforce,” APTA said. “We are encouraged by specific provisions in the proposal related to public transportation, including streamlining, preserving and expanding the CIG pilot program and eliminating constraints on private-public partnerships.”

Public Transportation, Amtrak do Well in Budget Bill

May 3, 2017

A proposed federal budget for the remainder of fiscal year 2017 contains funding for public transportation and Amtrak, the American Public Transportation Association reported.

Congress is expected to vote on the budge this week to fund the federal government through Sept. 30.

The FY17 omnibus appropriations bill contains $12.4 billion in funding for the Federal Transit Administration, $657 million above the FY 2016 enacted level.

The transit formula grants total is $9.7 million while about $2.4 billion would go toward “New Starts” funding, including $1.5 billion for current Full Funding Grant Agreement transit projects.

Amtrak would receive a $75 million increase to $1.495 billion.

Also included in the bill is $199 million for positive train control funding authorized under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act.

The Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements grant program would receive $68 million; the Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair grant program would get $25 million; the Restoration and Enhancement Grants would get $5 million; and the Transit Security Grant program, $88 million.

The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant program would be funded at $500 million.

Let the Posturing Begin: Trade Groups Jockey for Influence in Wake of New Regime in Washington

March 31, 2017

With a new administration in Washington promising a renewed focus on transportation infrastructure the posturing from trade groups representing various segments of the railroad industry is in full swing.

The American Public Transportation Association is seeking to lobby Congress to fully fund the FAST Act for fiscal years 2017 and 2018 as well as include public transit in any infrastructure development plan.

The Association of American Railroads is seeking to caution the administration against taking too hostile of a stance on foreign trade by pointing out that at least 42 percent of rail traffic and more than 35 percent of annual rail revenue are directly tied to international trade.

APTA is reacting to the “skinny budget” proposed by President Donald Trump earlier this year that slashed funding for capital grants used by public transit.

In particular the Trump budget would greatly reduce the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grants, TIGER grants and Amtrak funding.

APTA said it has conducted more than 60 meetings with congressional staff, focusing on those that serve on budget, appropriations, tax and authorization committees, and taken other proactive steps to engage with members of Congress.

It also has called on its members to meet with their members of Congress when they are on spring break in their home districts April 8-23.

As for the AAR, it released a report saying that 50,000 domestic rail jobs accounting for more than $5.5 billion in annual wages and benefits depend directly on international trade. Those numbers would be higher if rail traffic indirectly associated with trade is included.

AAR fears that the Trump administration might make policy changes that would adversely affect the global economy.

“Efforts that curtail overall trade would threaten thousands of U.S. freight-rail jobs that depend on it and limit essential railroad revenues used to modernize railroad infrastructure throughout North America,” said AAR President and CEO Edward Hamberger.

The AAR report examined rail movements using data from the 2014 Surface Transportation Board Waybill Sample, other government data and information from U.S. ports and Google Earth.

This included movements of coal for export from ports in Maryland, Virginia, the Gulf Coast and the Great Lakes; paper and forest products imported from Canada into the Midwest, as well as paper products exported from the southern United States; imports and exports of Canadian and Mexican automotive products to and from auto factories in dozens of U.S. states; containers of consumer goods from Asia coming ashore in California, Washington, Georgia, Virginia and New Jersey; plastics shipped by rail from Texas and Louisiana to the East and West coasts for export to Europe and Asia; iron ore mined in Minnesota and shipped by rail to Great Lakes ports; and Midwest-grown grain carried by rail to the Pacific Northwest and the Gulf Coast for export.