Rep. Greg Stanton introduced a bipartisan bill, the Small Community Transit Improvement Act, with Reps. Rodney Davis from Illinois, Jimmy Panetta from California, and John Rutherford from Florida to increase federal funding available to transit systems in small communities.
"We're working to improve access to great public transportation options across Arizona," said Stanton, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. "This bill would increase the funding available to support already successful transit systems in Flagstaff and Casa Grande and help them reach even more residents, students and businesses."
The Small Community Transit Improvement Act, H.R. 3758, would increase the Small Transit Intensive Communities (STIC) set aside for cities with populations under 200,000 from 2 percent to 3 percent. The STIC program rewards transit systems that achieve high benchmarks set by medium-sized urban communities between 200,000 to 1 million. Stanton and supporters of the bill believe the federal government should encourage and fund systems performing at extraordinarily high levels.
"With our growing population, coupled with the influx of students Northern Arizona University, our transit system provides an important link to our community and supports our strong and vibrant economy in Flagstaff," said Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans. "Increasing the STIC set aside will ensure that Mountain Line will continue to reliably serve our community, university and businesses in Flagstaff, and I applaud Congressmen Stanton and Davis for their leadership on this issue."
"When our communities have access to great public transportation options, they thrive," said Valley Metro CEO Scott Smith. "We appreciate Congressman Stanton's work to provide critical federal funding for transit systems of all sizes."
With increased funding, some STIC communities would be able to add more busses, frequency, and routes to their transit systems. For some systems, STIC funding represents a substantial portion of their total operating budget and this increase would help them invest for future needs.
In Arizona, seven communities are eligible for the STIC program, but only Flagstaff and Casa Grande have hit the necessary benchmarks to receive funding. For Fiscal Year 2019, Flagstaff received $1.3 million from the STIC program, and Casa Grande received $261,911.
"This legislation will further reward high-performing small transit systems like Mountain Line with additional funding for achieving the same performance measures as larger systems," said Mountain Line CEO and General Manager Erika Mazza. "Transit is about connecting people to their daily lives and this increased STIC funding proposal affords communities the opportunity to deliver enhanced transit services thus creating stronger communities. Congressmen Stanton and Davis are two of the leading voices in transportation and their sponsorship of the Small Community Transit Improvement Act is yet more proof of their continued commitment to transit. I applaud them for introducing this commonsense, bipartisan legislation and I look forward to working with them on this important issue."