The United States lags behind many other developed countries when it comes to infrastructure. American Public Transportation Association President and CEO Paul Skoutelas discussed the organization and how they believe the United States can improve its infrastructure on AWF Union Podcast.
What is the American Public Transportation Association?
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is an organization that represents the public transit industry and all of the public and private agencies who support the industry. From the agencies who represent public transit workers, to the private sector companies who provide engineering services, the APTA seeks to advance and expand the industry.
Pushing the public transit industry forward
Skoutelas said there are two priorities for the public transit industry right now. He said the first order of business is making it through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Public transit was hit massively, due to the nature of people sharing transportation and the fact that many began working from home or became unemployed. Despite receiving some CARES Act funding, Skoutelas said APTA is advocating for the allocation of $32 billion in funding for public transit. This money will go to those who keep the industry moving and will improve the experience for riders.
The second priority is finding a long term solution for the Surface Transportation Act. This is legislation that provides funding for the construction and maintenance of roads, bridges and public transit. Recently the legislation was extended for a year and Skoutelas hopes a new congress can get something done.
Making public transit safer
Skoutelas said that APTA has worked with industry partners to establish ways to make public transit cleaner in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
APTA and their partners developed a national taskforce to craft protocols to reduce touch points, increase cleanings and provide ways to social distance. Included in this was creating materials to ensure that riders were aware of limited capacity and to arrive early so they can reach their destination on-time.