The American Public Transportation Association (APTA), which represents transit agencies as well as related governmental agencies and businesses, recently advocated for transportation infrastructure benefits of at least $232 billion. In APTA’s recent brief (found here), the group was encouraged that so many lawmakers agree on the need for infrastructure investment, and called for bipartisan efforts to address infrastructure spending needs. The group “found that $232 billion spent over 10 years would stimulate a 4-to-1 return of $928 billion in economic activity over the next 20 years.”
A key factor in the data used for the study was the range of projects included. They encompass not just new construction or expansion efforts, but also basic upkeep and modernization projects. Three categories were used to describe relevant efforts: Capital Investment Grants pipeline projects (for transit expansion); Priority Projects (from transit center and bus garage construction to electric bus fleets and security); and finally State of Good Repair (for capital, operations, and safety repairs and upgrades, including vehicle replacement). This final category represents a critical need for many systems nationwide, since per the U.S. Department of Transportation there is a $90 billion backlog of state of good repair work.
In addition, many of these projects focus on moving transportation technology forward, towards increased sustainability and efficiency. These include an effort to expand electric bus fleets and build the associated electric charging infrastructure from the ground up. As of now, 21 percent of the country’s bus fleet is hybrid-electric, and many agencies plan to purchase battery electric buses. APTA identified more than $5 billion in cutting-edge electrification projects, for which additional funding could push many projects over the edge towards completion.
TRA is excited to be a part of many of these infrastructure efforts. Among the projects included in this group are several TRA client properties, including Sound Transit in Seattle (where TRA team members are supporting safety certification auditing efforts), as well as new construction of rail transit in Honolulu, for which TRA provides state safety oversight support to HDOT. TRA is also currently assisting BART, whose Fleet of the Future promises new rail cars to replace decades-old vehicles, with several organizational assessments. The most recently completed of these projects, TRA’s Maintenance and Service Options study, can be viewed here.