VTA Joins Top Transit Leaders to Call on President Trump To Restore Transportation Funding in FY18 Budget6/13/2017 9:17 AM |
On June 12th, during a national press call hosted by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) during its Annual Rail Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, VTA General Manager and CEO Nuria Fernandez joined public transit leaders from across the country to share deep concerns regarding the Trump Administration’s FY18 budget proposal to phase out the Capital Improvement Grant (CIG) program.
Cuts to the CIG program would put public transit projects and the thousands of associated direct and indirect jobs at risk in more than 50 communities. Key findings from the American Public Transportation Association show that if the Administration’s proposed budget was implemented, 800,000 jobs would be at risk and the nation could potentially experience a loss of $90 billion in the quantity of goods and services produced in America.
“Public transportation is a magnet to economic prosperity,” said Fernandez. As an example, Fernandez noted the recent announcement by San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo that the City of San Jose is in discussion with Google to purchase property that would support the development of millions of square feet of office and retail space near Diridon Station, the site of Caltrain, light rail, a planned BART station and a future High Speed Rail connection.
Phase II of the BART Silicon Valley Extension is specifically at risk if the project does not receive $1.5 Billion from the Federal New Starts funding program. VTA entered into the project development of the federal funding program in 2016 on schedule to get a federal grant agreement executed by 2018. Last fall, Santa Clara County voters overwhelmingly passed Measure B, which would provide matching funds to the tune of $1.5 billion along with state and other funding sources making up over 60% of the funding needed for Phase II.
“The federal government has been an important partner for transportation infrastructure,” Fernandez told national media outlets on the call. “The voters of Silicon Valley approved a new local tax on themselves with the expectation that the federal government will, once again, maintain the support it’s always provided.”
Also taking part in the call were leaders of transportation agencies in Dallas, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Seattle, as well as leaders from the Gateway Project in New York/New Jersey, a massive undertaking to replace a 100-year old bridge and a 106-year old tunnel for transit.