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Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Improve Small Community Transit

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Washington, July 26, 2019 | comments

Washington, DC - Congressman Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), joined U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Greg Stanton (D-Ariz.), and Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) today in announcing the introduction of the Small Community Transit Improvement Act to increase the amount of funding provided to transit systems in small communities. H.R. 3758 would increase the apportionment for the Small Transit Intensive Cities Program (STIC) from 2% to 3% to keep up with the growth and success of the program.

“I am proud to support this legislation that will continue boosting business and increasing ridership for local public transit agencies,” said Palazzo. “The STIC program has proven to be very successful to our communities and expanding the apportionment it provides will allow our small-urban transit providers to increase their efficiency.”

“The Small Transit Intensive Cities Program (STIC), which rewards high performing small transit systems, has been incredibly successful over the years and. We’ve seen the program grow from 77 eligible communities when it was first authorized to 124 as of 2017,” said Davis. “I have four prime examples of cities in my district that have benefited from this program, including Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-Urbana, Springfield, and Decatur. Our bipartisan bill ensures funding for this program is keeping up with demand so we can continue to help successful, small transit systems like these make investments to improve efficiency and service.”

“We’re working to improve access to great public transportation options in communities of all sizes,” said Stanton. “This bill would increase the funding available to support already successful small transit systems in Arizona communities such as Flagstaff and Casa Grande, and help them reach even more residents, students and businesses.”

“The STIC program has proven to be incredibly effective. Communities like mine on the central coast of California and across the country have benefitted from investments in local bus services, getting people out of cars and onto public transit,” said Panetta. “I am proud to support this bipartisan legislation that will continue to transform our transportation system and move millions of Americans efficiently in and around our communities.”

H.R. 3758 is supported by the Community Transportation Association of America, a national non-profit, membership association established in 1989 to remove barriers to isolation and improve mobility for all people.

"On behalf of CTAA's more than 140 small-urban transit provider members across the country, we applaud Highways & Transit Subcommittee Chairman Davis and Rep. Stanton for their leadership in introducing bipartisan legislation to increase the STIC program set-aside from two to three percent," said Scott Bogren, Executive Director of the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA). "This performance-based approach to transit investment incentivizes small-urban systems to enhance service availability and effectiveness, thereby generating more riders and delivering crucial outcomes in their communities, including accessing jobs, health care, education, Veterans services and so much more. We encourage the full Congress to support this important legislation."

Background
Authorized in SAFETEA-LU, STIC rewards high transit performance by providing funds to small-urban transit providers, those that serve populations between 50,000 and 200,000, based on meeting at least one of six measurable performance criteria established annually by the average service levels of larger public transit agencies.

Simply put, a small-urban transit agency, whenever it exceeds the average service level of a large transit agency, is rewarded with additional federal transit investment.

In the FAST Act, Congress recognized the need to address this and the Act will increase the STIC set-aside from 1.5 percent to 2 percent in FY 2019. While this is critical to the program’s continued success and we are excited about this modest increase, an increase to 3 percent will provide much-needed boost for these successful transit providers. Increasing STIC funds apportioned to these small transit agencies will further incentivize efficiency and efficacy, and allow for better service.

This modest change, that requires no new funding, would significantly improve public transit service for scores of small-urban communities across the country.

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