American Public Transportation Association praises Congress on appropriations bill

International nonprofit organization American Public Transportation Association (APTA) recently commended the U.S. Congress for completing negotiations of the fiscal year 2017 appropriations bill and urged lawmakers to quickly pass the legislation.

If approved, the bill would make appropriations for discretionary general fund programs including $2.4 billion for Capital Investment Grants (CIG), would fund passenger rail programs, transit security grants, and the TIGER program, and would fully fund federal public transportation programs including $199 million in grants for Positive Train Control implementation.

Federal public transportation programs are authorized by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act and funded by the Mass Transit Account of the Highway Trust Fund.

Passage of the bill also would have a positive impact on American jobs, APTA said.

The Senate authorized the CIG program in the FAST Act by a vote of 83-16. In the House of Representatives, it passed by a vote of 359-65.

As part of the FAST Act, Congress also authorized nearly $5.5 billion through 2020 for Amtrak.

Completion of negotiations shows that Congress is listening to constituents, APTA said, and that Congress understands the role public transportation plays in people’s lives and in the economy.

Three out of four Americans support increased public transportation spending.