Report: $77.7 Billion Needed to Bring Nation’s Rail, Bus Systems Up to Speed

A Federal Transit Administration (FTA) study estimates the cost of bringing the nation’s rail and bus transit systems into a state of good repair at $77.7 billion. In addition, a yearly average of $14.4 billion would be required to maintain the systems.

FTA’s National State of Good Repair Assessment Study, requested by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood as a follow-up to the 2009 Rail Modernization Study report to Congress, provides a comprehensive analysis of the costs required to bring the nation’s rail and bus transit systems into good operating order. The 2010 study released last week is based on data provided by 36 additional rail and bus operators in both rural and urban areas.

“Transit remains one of the safest forms of transportation, but this report shows the clear need to reinvest in our bus, subway, and light rail systems,” said LaHood. “As a nation, we must lead when it comes to infrastructure development and commit ourselves to rebuilding America.”

While most of the $77.7 billion backlog can be attributed to rail, more than 40 percent of the nation’s buses are also in poor to marginal condition.

“Investment in the nation’s transit infrastructure is important to a healthy economy and most importantly, the safety and well-being of our riders,” said FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff. “For millions of Americans, having a safe and reliable transit system is the difference between seeing their children before bed or not, making it to work on time or arriving late, or getting to a doctor’s appointment or forgoing it.”

“State of Good Repair” for the country’s transportation network is one of the five system-wide goals included in LaHood’s proposed Strategic Plan for the Department of Transportation. The assessment is available online at http:// www.fta.dot.gov/news/news_events_11865.html .

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