“How many more reports do we need to tell us that we must make investing in America’s infrastructure a priority,” said President and CEO of the American Public Transport Association (APTA), Michael Melaniphy in response to the 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure released by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
“Our country must get serious about investing in infrastructure including public transportation. APTA strongly supports ASCE’s message that our country must act now to invest in the nation’s infrastructure. This is an investment in our economic future and essential for our mobility.”
The Report Card graded the US public transportation infrastructure a “D” grade for the lack of current investment.
This grade, according to APTA, “should provide a sense of urgency for [the United States] to focus on increased investment in public transportation.”
“I want to commend ASCE for highlighting the need for urgent investment in our nation’s public transportation infrastructure in their report,” said Melaniphy. “The report shows that there are devastating consequences to our economy and to our mobility when we do not make investing in America’s infrastructure a priority.”
The report, entitled “Failure to Act”, emphasises the belief that the US economy lost $90 billion in 2010 due to the lack of investment poured into public transportation. Additionally, despite the fact that public transit ridership has increased by 9.1% over the past decade, 45% of Americans still lack access to public transportation in their communities.
At the end of last year, APTA announced that over the first three quarters of 2012, ridership had increased by 2.6% over the same time period in 2011. That was a total of 201 million more trips taken in the first nine months of the year. Fast forward three months to the beginning of March and APTA revised their figures for the whole of 2012, showing that 10.5 billion trips were taken in the US during 2012, 154 million trips higher than 2011.
“Every mode of public transportation showed an increase in ridership,” said Michael Melaniphy. “Public transit ridership grew in all areas of the country – north, south, east, and west — in small, medium and large communities, with at least 16 public transit systems reporting record ridership.”
Nevertheless, despite the lack of investment, public transport is still saving users. In February the Texas Transportation Institute revealed that public transit had reduced road delays by 865 million hours in 2011, and avoided the consumption of 450 million gallons of fuel.
10 days later APTA announced that their calculations showed savings of $826 a month for users who take mass transit versus owning and driving their own car.
The Failure to Act report only serves to remind us just how important public transport really is, especially when considering the financial, time, and environmental savings it provides us.