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Republican Study Committee Proposes to Cut Public Transportation Programs: Puts Nearly 200,000 Jobs at Risk

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Statement by American Public Transportation Association President William Millar

“The proposal by the House Republican Study Committee for deep cuts to public transportation programs is ill conceived and short sighted.  The ‘Spending Reduction Act of 2011’ will put jobs at risk, increase traffic congestion, and negatively impact the lives of millions of Americans who use public transportation.

The proposed cuts to the New Starts program, grants for Intercity and High-Speed Rail and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority do not make economic sense.  In fact, the Study Committee’s proposal seems to not use any credible studies at all to come to its conclusions.  The Study Committee’s proposal is based on a misunderstanding of the difference between investment and spending.  These investments in public transportation infrastructure benefit the nation for many decades to come.

It is ironic that this Study Committee’s report was unveiled on the heels of the release of the 2010 Urban Mobility Report by the Texas Transportation Institute that shows a worsening of road congestion costing the nation $134 billion in lost productivity.  This Urban Mobility report concludes that without public transportation services, in 2009, travelers would have suffered an additional 785 million hours of delay and consumed 640 million more gallons of fuel.  Road congestion would be much worse under the Study Committee’s proposal.

In fact, not only are public transit investments critical to our mobility, these programs create jobs and generate economic activity.  The Study Committee’s recommendation to eliminate key public transportation and passenger rail programs puts more than 198,000 jobs at risk, according to economic research regarding infrastructure investments.  Every $1 dollar invested in public transportation yields $4 in economic returns.  In addition, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce cited public transit and other transportation investments as critical to rebuilding our economic foundation.

Clearly, the Study Committee focused only on the short-term costs without looking at the economic value these essential public transportation investments provide.  Investments in America’s infrastructure will help grow the economy and should be an integral part of any plan to move the nation forward.”
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The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of more than 1,500 public and private member organizations, engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne passenger services, and high-speed rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. More than 90 percent of the people using public transportation in the United States and Canada are served by APTA member systems.

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