Coalition Objectives and Issues
The Bus Coalition’s main objective is to restore funds to the FTA Bus and Bus Facility (BBF) program. In 2019, TBC is excited about three opportunities to invest in bus programs – FY20 appropriations process, an infrastructure package and the transportation reauthorization bill.
FY20 Request: TBC supports $702 million in additional investments for the Bus and Bus Facility competitive grant program (5339b) in the FY20 THUD Appropriations bill. This request reflects the difference in the FAST Act funding level in competitive grant program in 2020 compared to the 2012
competitive grant program adjusted for inflation. The request is consistent with recent plus-ups included in the FY18 and FY19 THUD Appropriations bills.
Infrastructure Package: TBC supports an infrastructure package investment of $7.42 billion in the Bus and Bus Facility program. According to NTD data, there were 15,459 large revenue-buses operating past useful life in 2017. At an average cost of $600,000 per bus and factoring in a 20% local match, it would take $7.42 billion in federal resources to simply address the backlog in bus replacement. This funding level would create approximately 260,000 jobs and procure approximately 15,500 domestically manufactured buses.
NTD data also confirms there has been a significant decrease in transit fleet size due to a lack of investment. Over the last six years, the nationwide transit fleet has shrunk by 13,294 buses – an 18% decline. Smaller fleet size directly correlates to the reduction and elimination of service and declining ridership. Thus, in addition to TBC’s infrastructure request, it would take an additional $6.4 billion (13,294 buses x 600,000 per bus) to see fleet modernization and expansion at the levels needed in cities and towns across the country.
FAST Act Reauthorization: According to 2017 NTD data, the percentage of buses operating past useful
life has increased 47% while bus fleet size has shrunk by 18%. In addition, buses operating past 15 years increased a whopping 97%. It’s clear the diversion in resources away from bus programs has taken their toll on transit service.
As outlined in the infrastructure package request above, investment needed in bus transit systems ranges between $7.42 billion – to simply address the backlog in bus replacement needs – and $13.82 billion – to return to a state of good repair, expand and modernize bus fleets.
TBC has taken this range of funding and allocated the demand for investment over the six-year life of the next reauthorization bill. Below is the funding range request supported by TBC for the next reauthorization bill split evenly between the competitive grant and formula programs:
Getting a competitive grant funding program back in the Sec. 5339 Bus & Bus Facilities program was step one. Now, we have to ensure the Federal Transportation Administration awards the funds as stated under the new law passed by Congress. Read the latest on our efforts regarding this issue by clicking on the blue link above.
MAP-21 was disastrous for many bus systems throughout the United States. In 2012 under MAP-21, US Congress transitioned over half of the available funds bus systems relied on to keep their systems up-to-date, operational, and safe to other transit programs. The Bus Coalition, along with other advocates, worked hard to revert what was done in 2012 and reestablish a competitive grant program within the Bus & Bus Facilities Account 5339. Lean more about our recent actions that helped grow the 5339 account in the new 5-year FAST Act signed into law on December 4th, 2015, by clicking the link above.
Below are links to our previous issue briefs, legislative summaries and membership calls to action. Click on each doc to download the files.
(September 2018) TBC Letter to House and Senate Chairs and Ranking Members of Transportation Appropriations Subcommittees. Urging committee members to support bus transit via increases in the FY19 appropriations cycle.
(July 2018) Talking points for TBC members on Coalition priorities to restore funding levels to bus systems for Member correspondence and upcoming Capitol Hill Vicits.