FLINT TWP. — Today is Stand up for Transportation Day, a national event spearheaded by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) in Washington D.C. and sponsored locally by the Flint Mass Transportation Authority (MTA).
At MTA’s request, the Flint Township Board passed a proclamation on Monday supporting the April 9 observance. Today, transportation agencies across the country collectively called attention to the state of the transportation infrastructure, according to a letter to township Supervisor Karyn Miller from MTA director of marketing Charlene Kowalski.
The day is being used to highlight education and outreach to the public and elected officials with a goal of raising awareness about the nation’s long-term transportation infrastructure plight, the letter stated.
The township board unanimously approved a proclamation stating in part hat Stand Up for Transportation Day is to bring attention to the critical need to invest in updating the nation’s transportation infrastructure. Transportation is defined as the economic backbone of the nation’s economy and public transportation as an important part of the nation’s transportation system.
“Federal funding for public transportation infrastructure needs to increase and Congress needs to pass a long-term, multimodal transportation bill y May 31,” the resolution stated.
“For every $1 invested in public transportation, $4 in economic returns is generated locally, creating economically vibrantandprosperouscommunities.”
Public transportation offers millions of Americans access to economic opportunities since nearly 60 percent of the trips taken on public transportation reportedly are for commuting to work.
“Be it resolved that where public transportation goes, the community grows,’’ the proclamation concluded.
Stand Up for Transportation Day united the collective voices of 216 participating organizations in more than 140 communities across the country to focus on the urgency of the passage of a longterm, federal transportation bill, according to APTA.
The current federal transportation funding bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP- 21), is set to expire on May 31.
“Without a long-term federal transportation funding bill, (Genesee County) and communities across the country will face tremendous uncertainty,”APTA stated.
The public tends to only think about the infrastructure when it fails – when a bridge collapses, a water supply is contaminated, a sustained power blackout occurs, traffic congestion relief is costly; communications networks fail, buses and trains become overcrowded and communities are not able to afford maintenance or repairs, APTA noted.
“We completely ignore infrastructure when it works as intended, and we complain mightily when it doesn’t,’’ APTA said. “ Our nation needs to continually modernize and maintain its infrastructure to make the United States an attractive place for businesses to operate and for people to live. This requires collective action and sustained public investment in infrastructure notably at the federal level. “
APTA key points include that:
•Public transit and highway grants funded from the Highway Trust Fund cannot be made without an authorization bill. Congress needs to pass a new surface transportation authorization before MAP 21 expires on May 31, to authorize the continuation of those programs.
•Costs associated with our public transportation systems include an $86 billion one-time cost to bring the nation’s existing transit infrastructure into a state of good repair.
• Public transportation provides much needed mobility in large metropolitan regions, medium and small cities, and rural communities. Passenger fares, combined with state and local funding, pay for more than 80% of the $61 billion in public transit expenditures each year. Federal spending is critically needed.
APTA is urging he U.S. Congress, to enact a new multi-year authorization bill that provides dedicated funding for the Highway Trust Fund, to pay for the current federal transit program and the growth of that program for transit and highway infrastructure needs. APTA also advocates federal legislation for the creation of an integrated network of intercity passenger rail services, with dedicated revenues, other than those currently supporting the Highway Trust Fund. — Rhonda Sanders