Transportation advocates call on Congress to pass long-term transportation bill

 

Representatives of businesses, civic and non-profit organizations gathered at TARC today to urge Congress to pass a long-term, fully-funded federal transportation bill for roads, bridges, highways, and public transportation.  The current federal transportation bill, known as Map-21, will expire on May 31, leaving the federal highway trust fund insolvent.

“For the past several years, up against the transportation bill’s expiration, Congress has passed short-term, inadequately funded legislation,” said J. Barry Barker, executive director of TARC.  “Today, on National Stand Up for Transportation Day, we’re asking Congress to find a way to invest in transportation so that we can begin to repair our bridges, roads and public transportation networks, and plan for the future.  We’re in dire need of a long-term, adequately funded solution.”

At a news event at its Union Station Headquarters today, TARC was joined by representatives of Motor Coach Industries, a bus and bus parts manufacturer with a distribution center in Louisville; the Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics Network of Greater Louisville Inc. and Kentuckians for Better Transportation, a statewide association; local non-profits including the Center For Accessible Living and YouthBuild who depend on federal transportation funds to access training and job opportunities in Louisville.

To draw attention to the need, TARC also unveiled a wrapped “Stand Up 4 Transportation” bus that will circulate on regular routes for the next several months.

A recent analysis by the American Public Transit Association shows that more than $227 billion in economic productivity is at risk nationally over the next six years without long-term federal investment in public transit.

“On behalf of our company, I’m proud to participate in Stand Up For Transportation Day and support the funding of a long-term transportation bill,” said Scott Robertson, Vice-President of Product Life-Cycle Management at MCI. “I see the benefits of public transit every day – both in our community and in our business. We keep a lot of hard-working Kentuckians and others employed and contributing to our local and larger economies.”
“In Louisville, and throughout Kentucky, a long-term federal transportation bill is vital to our ability to move goods and people.  Our economy and quality of life is dependent on a modern, safe and accessible transportation network and we need a long-term and reliable transportation bill,” said Kentuckians for Better Transportation Executive Director Juva Barber.

The nation faces a $160 billion backlog just to bring public transit and road systems into a state of good repair, according to APTA.  The lack of a long-term federal funding bill creates local funding uncertainty which jeopardizes transportation project planning and discourages private sector investment.  With a lack of a commitment on the federal level, that stifles local business investment and job creation.

“It’s critical that our region’s transportation system can efficiently move our people and products throughout our region and far beyond now, and in the future,” said Derek Bland, co-chair of the Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics Network and Vice President of Business Development for Houston-Johnson, a 3rd party logistics company in Louisville that provides material support services for companies such as Ford, Johnson Controls, Brown-Forman, Martinrea and the PGA of America. “Effectively maintaining and expanding our roadway network is critical as our region’s economy and population grows.”

The impact from the expiration of Map-21 could jeopardize services provided by the Center For Accessible Living, which stresses independent living and self-determination. Public transportation is critical for people with disabilities, many of whom are unable to operate vehicles.

“Since the passage with the Americans With Disabilities Act in 1990, TARC has worked hand-and-hand with the disability community to ensure its services provide easy access to everything life has to offer,” said Jan Day, Chief Executive Officer for the Center For Accessible Living. “A fully-funded transportation bill ensures they continue to get to work, hospital appointments, have the ability to visit family and friends and reach cultural and educational opportunities within their communities.”

Sponsored by APTA, Stand Up for Transportation Day united more than 240 participating organizations in communities across the country to urge federal officials to support the passage of a long-term, sustainable and reliable federal transportation funding bill.

To learn more about Stand Up for Transportation Day please visit www.standup4transportation.org