Transportation leaders from across the country met today in Chicago, IL for an update on the current activities in Washington, D.C., to address the nearly $80 billion spending backlog needed to bring the country’s transit systems into a state of good repair. During the American Public Transportation Association conference on Monday, Getting America to Work held a briefing to discuss efforts to secure funding for needed repairs and broaden the coalition’s reach.
The Getting America to Work coalition, which has grown from 49 members at the time of its launch in March of 2013 to 86 members in 16 states, is dedicated to finding innovative solutions to funding America’s transit infrastructure and the $80 billion spending backlog needed to bring the country’s transit systems into a state of good repair.
“Over the next year, the future of public transit will be decided by Congress, as they search for solutions to address the anemic state of capital funding for transit,” said Northeastern Illinois Regional Transportation Authority Executive Director, Joe Costello. “GATW continues to grow in size and influence, and we will continue to shine a spotlight on the critical need for increased capital funding and move it up on the national agenda.”
GATW members are coordinating their advocacy efforts, sharing information and ideas to educate policymakers on the economic impact public transportation has in local communities. The coalition is also working closely with the newly formed Congressional Public Transportation Caucus — a bipartisan effort to facilitate a discussion among members of Congress on how to better support America’s transit systems.
“Public transportation is essential for economies across the nation and in every state,” said Stephen F. Lalli, executive director of the Oklahoma Transit Association. “Our nation’s buses and trains are a reliable, affordable and efficient transportation option for millions in big cities and rural communities. But far too many are in need of critical repairs. Working alongside GATW, we’ll continue fighting for the resources our transit systems need to keep the economy moving.”
By focusing on educating riders, elected officials and the media on the facts and data that demonstrate the growing need for more transit funding, GATW expects its coalition to continue to grow and play an influential role in encouraging Congress to act.