April 15, 2017 - TRA Newswire -

DART President/Executive Director Gary Thomas, on behalf of the American Public Transportation Association, testified earlier this month before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. Specifically, the committee wanted to hear from state and local authorities concerning the implementation of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or FAST Act.

DART is one of many public transit agencies that has projects in the federal funding pipeline. Members of the U.S. House of Representatives wanted to know how Capital Investment Grants (CIG) will advance these transit projects.

“The programs supported by the FAST Act and its predecessors are difference makers in North Texas,” Thomas said. “DART was able to build its 93 miles of electric light rail in just over 20 years because the federal government has been a partner, providing three FTA Full Funding Grant Agreements as part the CIG program, which the Trump administration proposes eliminating. Our most recent one, awarded in 2006 for $700 million, supported the construction of our light rail Green Line.”

Thomas said that the proposal to eliminate the FAST Act’s CIG program threatens more than 55 projects in communities all around the country that have expended resources planning new projects with the expectation that the federal government would uphold the commitments made in the FAST Act.

Thomas listed some of DART’s upcoming projects. For example, D2 is a second light rail line in Downtown Dallas that is slated to be partially funded by a Core Capacity Grant. If the President’s budget proposal is accepted, these federal funds would be unavailable.

“It is critical that Congress keeps these commitments and reject the Administration’s proposed cuts to public transportation programs that were authorized a little more than one year ago,” Thomas said.

Click here to read Thomas’ full testimony.

To watch video of the entire subcommittee meeting, click here.