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Friday, September 14, 2012

Federal Public Transportation Program: An Overview

William J. Mallett
Specialist in Transportation Policy

Federal assistance to public transportation is provided primarily through the public transportation program administered by the Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The federal public transportation program is authorized through FY2014 as part of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21; P.L. 112-141). Signed into law in July 2012, MAP-21 made significant modifications to the public transportation program, effective October 1, 2012. This report provides an introduction to the program as modified by MAP-21.

Major federal involvement in public transportation dates to the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964 (P.L. 88-365). Prior to the mid-1960s there was very little public funding of public transportation. With much lower ridership than existed at the end of World War II and mounting debts, however, many private transit companies were reorganized as public entities. Federal funding was initially used to recapitalize transit systems. Today, the focus of the federal program is still on the capital side, but the program has evolved to support operational expenses in some circumstances, as well as safety oversight, planning, and research.

Date of Report: September 6, 2012
Number of Pages: 11
Order Number: R42706
Price: $29.95

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