Transit industry turns up volume on its Washington lobbying effort

Reasoning that its voice hasn't been heard loudly enough in the halls of government, the US mass transit industry is raising it a couple of decibels.

At their annual meeting here this week, American Public Transit Association (APTA) members voted to form a political action committee and begin raising funds.

They also unanimously approved a strongly worded resolution calling on the Reagan administration and Congress to approve immediately the proposal by Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis for a five-cent-a-gallon increase in the federal gasoline tax. One cent of the five would be added to existing federal support of mass transportation.

APTA spokesman Albert Engelken dismisses suggestions that the transit industry has its back to the wall with the federal government over the issue of decreasing support.

''Our problem is not with the Congress; it's with this administration,'' he says. We're not getting as much as we deserve. But we're in there digging for it.''

Mr. Engelken says APTA sees ''some hopeful signs'' that the administration is moderating its view of mass transit, just as the Carter administration did before it. Highly placed Urban Mass Transportation Administration officials, he says, recently hinted that federal operating subsidies might fare better at the hands of budget cutters if APTA withdrew its absolute opposition to further reductions.

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