As Congress begins its budget writing, I write to ask you to consider transit a national priority. President Trump stated early in the year that he wanted to invest $1 trillion in public infrastructure yet the White House is recommending cutting billions of dollars from existing public transit infrastructure programs in its proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2018. While the federal government currently covers only 43 percent of all capital spending for public transit, reliable funding is critical and any cuts will only add to the significant shortfall that already exists.
We need to restore our transportation system to a state of good repair in order to compete with the rest of the world. A bipartisan majority of Americans and Members of Congress support investments in public transportation. Nearly 70 percent of voters polled in the presidential election support investment to repair and improve public transportation. As it stands now, America is already underinvesting in public transportation, as noted with a grade of D- in the recently released American Society of Civil Engineers infrastructure report card. These proposed cuts would make the existing $90 billion of State of Good Repair gap even worse.
The American economy and communities of all sizes would be impacted if the proposed reductions in the FTA Capital Investment Grants (CIG), the TIGER program, and Amtrak are enacted. President Trump is calling for local governments to assume a larger share of transit funding. Our local governments in Virginia are already reaching deep into their already-stressed budgets to fund transit service and certainly will not be able to provide for much-needed expansion without additional revenue. We need the federal government to do its part in advancing a partnership that provides mobility solutions.
Increased investment in public transportation is part of a pro-growth agenda. For every $1 billion invested in public transportation, 50,000 jobs are created. Please work to help the millions of Americans who depend on public transportation to get to their jobs by continuing to support public transportation funding.