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The Rapid's CEO makes Congressional appeal preserving public transit funding

Rapid Silver Line bus

Members of the American Public Transportation Association are in Washington this week. That includes the CEO of Grand Rapids’ Interurban Transit Partnership. Peter Varga, CEO of The Rapid is speaking to Congress on behalf of the American Public Transportation Association.

APTA says the Trump Administration is proposing deep cuts to public transportation funding to help fund its proposed $200 billion infrastructure initiative. Varga is making the case investing in public transit supports economic growth and creates jobs.

Mantill Williams is American Public Transportation Association’s Director of Advocacy Communications. “Not all government investment is created equal particularly when you invest in roads, bridges and public transit. When you invest in public transit, for every dollar that you invest you get four dollars in economic return.”

Last month, Republican U.S. Representative Bill Huizenga of Zeeland helped secure a federal grant that will pay for up to 80 percent of the $70 million Laker Line project shuttling an average of 8,000 daily riders between Allendale and Grand Rapids saving time, money and energy.

“Public transit does a great job of creating value for local businesses and those communities because 71-percent of the money that’s invested in it goes to directly to the private sector in creating jobs and to the community in general.”

The Laker Line will operate 16 BRT buses. Construction of Laker Line stations will begin this spring with completion in 2020.

Patrick Center, WGVU News.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.