RIPTA Says it is Essential to Maintain Dedicated Funding for Public Transportation Funding in the Surface Transportation Legislation

February 10, 2012

Press Releases

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) today expresses its strong opposition for the provisions in House bill H.R. 3864, the federal American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Financing Act, which would eliminate dedicated federal fuels taxes for public transit and create long-term uncertainty for public transportation funding for the first time since the Reagan administration.  As RIPTA looks to expand capacity during record ridership, this change will have dire consequences for the thousands of people in Rhode Island who rely on public transit.

Since 1983, nearly half of all public transportation funding has been provided from the federal motor fuels tax dedicated to the Highway Trust Fund.  This funding structure has successfully provided highway and transit programs with secure, dedicated revenues and has allowed public transit systems around the country to create jobs and foster economic growth.

Under the proposed change, public transit funding would receive a one-time appropriation with no funding for public transportation after 2016. This would create deep uncertainty for RIPTA.

“I strongly oppose H.R. 3864 which will eliminate dedicated federal fuels taxes for public transit,” said Charles Odimgbe, CEO. “This change will make it very difficult for us to plan for the future, even as we are seeing more people than ever turning to public transportation to get around.  Instead of creating jobs and encouraging economic growth, we will be forced to contend each year with a deeply divided Congress.”

Public transportation is a proven solution to many of the economic problems facing the United States. For every $1 billion invested, more than 36,000 jobs are created and supported, resulting in nearly $500 million in federal, state, and local tax revenues.  For every $1 invested in public transportation, $4 is generated in economic returns.

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