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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

APTA makes case for including transit in Trump's infrastructure plan

(Editor's note: This story was updated to correct the impact a $200 billion investment in public transportation would have on the nation's GDP. The impact would be $800 billion over a 20-year period.)

Including public transit in President Donald Trump's $1 trillion infrastructure plan would help create and sustain millions of U.S. jobs, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) concluded in an analysis released yesterday.

A $200 billion investment in the nation's public transportation infrastructure over a 10-year period would create and sustain 10 million U.S. jobs, and could contribute $800 billion to the nation's gross domestic product over 20 years, APTA officials said in a press release.

The $200 billion estimate in the "APTA Infrastructure Analysis" is based on three separate analyses as the association developed recommendations for the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. APTA researchers examined what $200 billion of a $1 trillion investment flowing to the U.S. transit infrastructure could do over 10 years.

"This additional investment is the key to addressing the nation's aging public transportation infrastructure," said APTA Acting President and Chief Executive Officer Richard White. "Data from the U.S. Department of Transportation shows we need to invest nearly $90 billion just to bring our systems into a state of good repair. More than 40 percent of buses and 25 percent of rail train assets are in marginal or poor condition."

APTA's analysis was based on data collected from four federal funding formula programs and local metropolitan planning organizations. Calculations of job creation were derived from economic models developed by APTA through its established published economic studies.

Recently, APTA noted in a demographics study that 90 percent of public transit trips directly benefit the economy by transporting people to their jobs and connecting them to local businesses.
Also, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) last week rated the nation's public transit infrastructure a D- in its 2017 Infrastructure Report Card. It was the lowest infrastructure grade of ASCE's 10 critical infrastructure sectors and showed transit infrastructure's further degradation from the 2013 report, APTA officials said.

The association urged Congress and the Trump administration to "dramatically" increase current investment in transit and intercity passenger-rail systems.

"We live in a time where there may be a number of policy issues that separate us, but investing in our public transportation infrastructure is the one issue that unites us," said White. 

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/14/2017