President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Trump:
On behalf of America’s public transportation industry, which directly employs more than 435,000 workers and supports millions of private-sector jobs, we strongly urge you to jumpstart our economic recovery from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) by significantly increasing investments in our nation’s public transportation and passenger rail infrastructure in Congress’ “Phase 4” response to the overwhelming economic impacts of the pandemic. We are grateful that both you and Speaker Pelosi have called for significantly increasing infrastructure investment as a central tenet of the Economic Recovery package and look forward to working with you on this critical legislation.
On behalf of all APTA members, we greatly appreciate your work to pass the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) (P.L. 116-136) to respond to the immediate crisis for public transportation. Public transportation operations must continue across the country to provide vital services for health care workers, law enforcement, first responders, grocery store workers, and other essential personnel.
While the CARES Act provides much needed support to public transit systems, now is the time to invest more in our nation’s public transportation infrastructure to support jobs, connect Americans, and build the necessary infrastructure network to provide critical public transit services and economic opportunities for all.
As our nation emerges from the coronavirus pandemic, Americans will continue to demand reliable and effective public transportation. Americans use transit 10 billion times a year, and every trip meets a need or provides an opportunity. Riders of all ages and incomes depend on public transportation to access education, career opportunities, and medical care in urban, suburban, and rural communities across the country. And only with substantial and sustained investment can the public transportation network continue to create vibrant communities across America and grow our economy.
A big, bold vision for federal investment in our country is urgently needed. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that more than $99 billion is required just to bring bus and rail assets into a state of good repair. In addition, communities are clamoring for new and expanded public transportation to reduce traffic congestion and ensure clean air.
APTA calls for a federal investment of $178 billion over six years to fund critical projects that will repair, maintain, and improve our public transit and passenger rail systems today and in the future. Details of our proposal, including more than $145 billion for public transportation and $32 billion for passenger rail, are in the enclosed APTA Recommendations on Surface Transportation Law.
Americans know intuitively that investing in our public transportation infrastructure will lead to benefits that repay the investment multiple times over—and the facts back them up. For every $1 billion invested in public transportation, we create or sustain 50,000 jobs across industries. Every $1 invested in public transportation generates approximately $5 in economic returns. Thus, APTA’s recommended investment of $178 billion will generate more than $890 billion in economic activity.
APTA’s Recommendations focus on maintaining and expanding our public transportation network and represent a commitment to growing jobs, supporting our communities, and providing expanded mobility options. In addition, as we continue to assess the impacts of COVID-19, APTA is exploring the need for further funding and policy changes beyond our current Recommendations.
As the nation emerges from the coronavirus pandemic, we need to build for the future and create more family-wage jobs, a stronger economy, a cleaner environment, and more opportunity—and public transportation gets us there.
Paul P. Skoutelas
President and CEO
cc: The Honorable Elaine L. Chao, Secretary of Transportation
The Honorable K. Jane Williams, Acting Administrator, Federal Transit Administration
The Honorable Ronald Batory, Administrator, Federal Railroad Administration