Melaniphy addresses need for 2012 transit funding
In his first State of the Public Transportation Industry address, American Public Transportation Association President and CEO Michael Melaniphy says it is crucial that the U.S. invest in its overall transportation infrastructure, not just for the future, but to maintain its current systems in a state of good repair. According to the Federal Transit Administration, $78 billion is needed to address existing public transit infrastructure needs. Assuming a 3.53 percent annual growth in ridership, a total of $60 billion is needed annually for capital needs.
“We need a much greater investment in public transportation infrastructure—not only to update the current backlog, but to meet the growing public demand, and to ensure safety,” Melaniphy wrote in his address.
Melaniphy added that the current level of funding from the federal government does not even begin to address our infrastructure needs, and the economic recession has hit many system budgets hard. Since the economic downturn in the fall of 2008, many public transit systems have been negatively affected by stagnant or declining state and local revenue. With less revenue from local and state taxes and less revenue from fares, many public transit systems have had to cut service, raise fares or do both. The economic recession impacted our private sector members as well.
A survey of APTA business members indicated that 74 percent of the respondents had incurred flat or declining business in the private sector in 2010. Of those reporting a decrease in business, the average decrease was 25 percent.
Melaniphy added that passing federal legislation in 2012 must be the number one priority of the industry.
“Short-term extensions are stifling our industry, both public and private sectors, and they are not a sustainable solution,” he wrote. “We need to plan for the future to maintain and expand public transportation in the years to come.”
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