U.S. Senator Kay R. Hagan (D—NC) and North Carolina Public Transportation Association President Randy Bass on Friday, Feb. 3, commented on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee’s approval of the Federal Public Transportation Act of 2012. Hagan, who sits on the Banking Committee, fought to include over $200 million in the bill for important North Carolina infrastructure investments. The two-year reauthorization and reform of federal public transportation programs was passed with unanimous, bipartisan support. The legislation will be included in a broader surface transportation reauthorization bill.
“Maintaining and upgrading our infrastructure is about creating jobs, not just in the construction sector, but in the businesses, plants and factories that rely on our ports, roads, rails and airports to get American-made products to markets around the globe,” said Hagan. “Investing in our transportation infrastructure will enable our economy to grow and keep our country competitive.”
Bass also commended the Senate Banking Committee for approving the Federal Public Transportation Act of 2012.
“Our association represents public transportation systems in all 100 counties in North Carolina," he said. "Despite the challenges we face in these tough economic times, North Carolina’s public transportation infrastructure is a testament to how public and capital investments can create a network of transportation services critical to the economic vitality of our state. We are proud and grateful to have the exceptional leadership of Sen. Hagan and her colleagues on the Banking Committee to keep public transportation a priority of our nation.”
The Federal Public Transportation Act of 2012 provides funding for critical investments in North Carolina’s infrastructure. The bill authorizes $20 million in fiscal years 2012 and 2013 for competitive grants to help communities develop and plan public transportation projects designed to enhance economic development, increase transit ridership, and promote multi-modal connectivity and accessibility.
Few communities exemplify the benefits of Transit-Oriented Development better than Charlotte. Since its opening, there has been $1.4 billion in development adjacent to the LYNX light rail Blue Line. It is anticipated that through 2035, there will be approximately $5 billion in new development adjacent to the Blue Line Extension—a continuation of the LYNX Blue Line to the UNC-Charlotte campus.
The bill streamlines and includes a slight increase in funding for rural transit. In fiscal year 2010, North Carolina received $47.61 million in rural transit grants, more than any other state except California.
The bill also includes $20 million for a New Appalachian Development Public Transportation Assistance Program. The funds are to be distributed across the Appalachian region—including 29 counties in North Carolina—to increase and enhance public transportation opportunities to residents in these areas.