TBC & CTAA Join Forces for Fiscal 2021 Bus Funding Increases

The Bus Coalition and CTAA are teaming up again to advocate for additional funding for the Competitive Bus and Bus Facility grant program in the FY21 Appropriations process. This alliance has been successful in securing over $1.24 billion in “plus-up” funding for bus programs over the last three fiscal years.

On April 9, we sent this letter to the leaders of the Senate and House Transportation and Housing Appropriations Subcommittee asking for a “plus-up” of $485 million in 5339b funding.

The recent plus-ups from the Appropriations Committee have spurred significant investment in bus transit. However, we still have a long way to go. From the letter:

We know you are well aware of the catastrophic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy. The additional Section 5339 (b) funds we are requesting will play a small but vital role in keeping thousands of people fully employed in the bus and bus component part industries around the nation, as well as to assist transit agencies around the nation in their mission to continue essential service and, eventually, to help millions of Americans return to work in the near future.

…According to 2018 National Transit Database (NTD), between 2012 and 2018, fleet size nationwide dropped by more than 16,300 buses, or 22 percent. This reduction in fleet size directly corresponds to the 19 percent reduction in service hours and a 12 percent reduction in ridership. Until the Committee’s efforts, bus systems simply did not have the resources to keep buses on the road and were forced to reduce service and eliminate routes.

Similarly, the reduction in federal funds caused bus transit systems to operate old and inefficient buses well past useful life. According to NTD data, the percentage of buses operating past useful life increased 48 percent while buses operating past 15 years increased 104 percent. Between the shrinking and aging bus fleets, Congress has more to do to ensure the safety and efficiency of the nation’s bus transit system.”

Our advocacy builds on the efforts of the Bipartisan Congressional Bus Caucus. With your help and outreach, the Caucus sent a similar letter signed by 61 House Members to support additional bus funding. You can see the list of signatories here.

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