March 29, 2010
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Des Moines’ Miller, IMPulse's Wharton Testify Before House
In testimony March 26 before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Brad Miller, general manager of the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART) in Des Moines, IA, representing APTA, reported on the positive results to his agency of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding.
With $7.88 million in ARRA grants supplementing other federal transit funds, Miller said, DART was able to purchase seven new buses and implement nine other critical capital projects that had been deferred for many years. The agency has received the entire amount and has already cut checks for nearly 47 percent of the funds, he added.
In addition, he noted that DART is among the public transit systems able to use 10 percent of its allocated ARRA funds for a one-time source of operating assistance.
Also testifying at the hearing was Jeffrey Wharton, president of IMPulse NC LLC, an overhead contact hardware manufacturer located in Mount Olive, NC. Overhead contact hardware involves the aerial wires that feed power for light rail trains, streetcars, vintage trolleys, and electric trolleybuses.
Wharton told the committee his company has 30 direct employees, but also emphasized the large nationwide sub-supplier base. He highlighted stories about supply partners in South Carolina, Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania while referring to similar stories in Texas, California, Illinois, and Washington. He cited how much these firms had come to depend upon the transit business from his company due to the tough economy.
“I am pleased to report that in 2009, my new project business grew 35 percent, and in 2010, I expect sales to grow another 10 percent to 15 percent,” Wharton testified. “I do not believe my business would have survived without the investment in public transportation by way of the ARRA stimulus funding.”
Wharton emphasized to the committee that the ARRA funding served as an important bridge between SAFETEA-LU and the next authorization bill and helped expedite projects.