Getting America To Work Advisory Board Urges Congress to Spur Economic Growth by Investing in Mass Transit

Chicago—The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) stands in support of a letter sent yesterday to the leadership of the U.S. House and Senate from the Advisory Board of Getting America To Work (GATW), a national coalition of over 100 transit agencies, commuter advocacy groups and councils of government, calling upon Congress to pass a long-term transportation bill that enhances funding for America’s mass transit systems. The letter comes just weeks before the July 31 expiration of the current transportation funding package. The RTA is a founding member of GATW, a coalition created to focus attention on the region’s and nation’s transit and transportation needs.

Back in April, RTA Chairman Kirk Dillard and the leaders of the region’s service boards and Amtrak held a press conference in Chicago along with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, U.S. Rep. Bill Foster and U.S. Rep. Bob Dold highlighting the importance of federal funding in our region.

“We believe Congress must pass a sensible long-term surface transportation bill that fully funds our region’s and nation’s public transit needs,” said Dillard.  “We stand united with the GATW advisory board and its message to congressional leadership.”

“Citizens in cities big and small are increasingly dependent on local transit agencies for reliable and affordable transportation to work, school, the doctor and everywhere in between,” the letter from GATW’s Advisory Board reads. “However, with numerous short-term extensions of federal transportation programs and stagnant growth in transportation funding, agencies across the nation have struggled to meet increased demand.”

In 2014, transit ridership reached record levels with nearly 11 billion rides taken nationally, according to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).  The RTA reports that ridership in its six-county region in 2014 was more than 640 million.  However, with only stopgap measures passed by Congress since the expiration of MAP-21 in 2014, transit agencies have not had the funding certainty necessary to make critical infrastructure improvements to keep up with demand. As the state of American infrastructure falls into disrepair, GATW’s members have advocated for a renewed effort by Congress to make smart, sustainable investments in the nation’s transit networks.

“Federal transportation funding has long enjoyed bipartisan support,” the letter continues. “With expiration of the latest extension of MAP-21 coming before the August recess, GATW urges Congress to come together on this critical issue and quickly pass a long-term bill that will restore the engine of the American economy: our transit networks, roads and bridges.”

The full text of the letter is attached.

 

About GATW

Getting America To Work (GATW) is a broad coalition of commuters, officials and transportation agencies that support vital investments in public transit. The coalition’s membership represents urban, suburban and rural transit agencies across the United States. For more information, visit www.GettingAmericaToWork.org.

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About the RTA

The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) is the only transit agency charged with regional financial oversight, funding, and transit planning for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra and Pace bus and paratransit.    Riders take more than two million trips each weekday on the RTA region’s transit system in six counties with 7,200 transit route miles throughout Northeastern Illinois.  The Agency also provides customer services including on-line and telephone travel planning assistance and travel training for seniors and people with disabilities.  For more information, visit www.RTAChicago.org.