Public Transit Agencies Would be Forced to Defer Projects and Make Targeted Service Cuts if Trust Fund Shortfall is Not Resolved

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Mantill Williams
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 Public Transit Agencies Would be Forced to Defer Projects and Make Targeted Service Cuts if Trust Fund Shortfall is Not Resolved

 

Washington, D.C.  The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) released a new survey today that reinforces as Congress works to prevent the insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund and the resulting shutdown or delay of public transit and highway projects nationwide. 

Absent Congressional action, the Highway Account of the HighwayTrust Fund would have become insolvent by the end of August while the Mass Transit Account faces a similar crisis.  In the survey, The Highway Trust Fund Cliff: Its Impact on Public Transportation, 85 percent of public transit agencies said they would implement targeted service cuts if the Trust Fund shortfall is not resolved.

“We are encouraged to see both the House and the Senate move with a sense of urgency in solving the short-term Highway Trust Fund insolvency crisis,” said APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy.  “Once this is resolved, Congress must enact long-term legislation for our nation’s public transportation and road systems.  We must find a solution to increase Trust Fund revenues and support much-needed growth in infrastructure investment.”

In addition, ninety-three percent will defer public transit construction and maintenance projects, 78 percent will defer vehicle purchases, while 60 percent will stop work on one or more capital projects, according to the survey.

Public transit agencies noted other repercussions if the Trust Fund insolvency is not solved:
• Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of responding agencies say they would be forced to make overall cuts to service if the Federal Tranist Administration is forced to slow or defer payments.
• Sixty-three percent would have to implement layoffs.
• While most responding agencies said they could maintain their service levels for half a year or more, a large portion of agencies (40 percent) would be forced to cut service within a matter of months.
• Nearly 60 percent of the responding agencies said they would have to cut back on maintenance in the event of a slowdown or deferral of payments.

APTA also surveyed state Departments of Transportation grantees who oversee disbursement of funds to rural public transit service.  Nearly sixty percent of these rural providers noted that these funds would face targeted service cuts, more than half (52 percent) would experience across the board cuts, 47 percent will endure furloughs/layoffs and 19 percent will face a complete shutdown.

“Investments in these public transportation projects and vehicles are crucial because they transform communities and are a catalyst for growth,” said Melaniphy.  “As Congress addresses the current funding shortfall in a bi-partisan manner, it is imperative that we carry forward this spirit of cooperation in finding a sustainable long-term transportation funding solution to help boost the American economy.”
 
APTA conducted this survey among the nation’s public transportation systems in May through June of 2014.  For a full copy of the report got to www.apta.com.

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The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of 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.  More than 90 percent of the people using public transportation in the United States and Canada ride APTA member systems.

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