Source: US Amalgamated Transit Union
Silver Spring, MD – As cash-strapped transit systems struggle to provide service for their riders and communities, the largest transit union in North America, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), is applauding Congressman Hank Johnson (GA) for re-introducing the Stronger Communities Through Better Transit Act, which would allocate $20 billion a year for four years, for much-needed improvements to transit across the country.
“Without help from policymakers in Washington, the transit systems so many people from coast to coast rely on daily may soon start to disappear,” said ATU International President Costa. “By providing federal funds for operating budgets, $80 billion over four years would be transformational for working people. Our transit systems and members move people to jobs, education, and other opportunities. We move our most vulnerable citizens. We save lives. Thank you, Rep. Johnson, for introducing this bill to ensure more equitable service by expanding public transit across our communities.”
While the Biden Administration and Congress have taken vital steps in recent years to fund transit, including the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which the ATU helped to get passed, there has been little federal support for transit operations with the exception of COVID aid, leaving many transit agencies in serious fiscal trouble.
Rep. Johnson, a senior member of the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, introduced the bill to provide more frequent service on bus and rail lines. The bill also prioritizes service in disadvantaged communities with poor service and high poverty rates. Some communities could see up to a 40 percent increase in service.
“The COVID-19 pandemic showed how essential public transit and transit workers are,” continued Costa. “We know because our members were heroes on the frontlines. Public transit will continue to be a key component of our economic recovery and the uplift of historically marginalized communities who depend on public transit. While we’ve seen great improvements, including the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, there are still funding shortfalls because of the lack of operations funding. Congressman Johnson’s bill fixes that.”