APTA | Passenger Transport
October 20, 2008

In This Issue

 

The 2008 APTA Annual Meeting and EXPO in San Diego was a huge success!

 

Read all about it.
 


APTA Board of Directors Approves Authorization Recommendations

The APTA Board of Directors approved the Legislative Committee’s recommendations for the next federal public transportation authorizing law at its Oct. 5 meeting in San Diego. The new law will take effect after SAFETEA-LU expires on Sept. 30, 2009.
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The committee declared that authorization of federal surface transportation programs should be directed by the federal role and purpose in transportation, and a vision that can direct transportation policy for the coming decades.

In its final report, the committee urged that public transportation be viewed and understood for its vital contribution to the national goals of spurring economic development; enhancing global competition and reducing dependence on foreign oil; reducing greenhouse gases; providing critical responses in emergencies; and providing Americans with mobility choices, freedom, and opportunities.

Among the key recommendations in the plan are:

* Authorize $123 billion in federal funds over the next six years to meet 50 percent of estimated capital needs, an increase of $70.4 billion over the current six-year authorization.

* Maintain and strengthen the federal public transportation program funding guarantees.

* Streamline the project approval process for new starts, speed project delivery, and reduce costs; and convert the federal public transportation program from a “grant-based” program to a locally-driven, federally-assisted program.

* Continue to credit the Mass Transit Account (MTA) of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) with, at minimum, 20 percent of each future increase in the motor fuel (or successor) tax.

* Ensure that transit receives at least 20 percent of surface transportation investment.

* Restore the earning of interest income to the HTF/MTA.

* Examine the longer-term viability of innovative financing techniques, including public-private partnerships; federal loan guarantees; tax exempt/tax credit bonds; and tolling and congestion pricing.

* Create a new “Bus Formula Program” with funds distributed proportionately under the urban and rural formula programs.

* Create a discretionary “Bus Facilities” program to distribute grants for bus and bus facilities projects eligible under the current Section 5309 program.

* Provide up to 100 percent federal share for funding the incremental cost of purchasing alternative fuel buses.

* Create a new Bus Replacement Program that would direct funds to transit agencies to replace aging buses in their fleets with new, clean fuel vehicles.

* Simplify and make Fixed Guideway Modernization program needs-based and accountable.

* Create a simplified and streamlined rating process for all Small Starts.

* Re-establish an exempt project category as part of the New Starts/Small Starts Program.

* Streamline and simplify the New Starts review and approval process to expedite project delivery.

* Re-establish the Program of Interrelated Projects provision of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991.

* Authorize public transportation systems in urbanized areas of more than 200,000 population that operate less than 100 buses in peak operation to use FTA Section 5307 formula funds for operating purposes.

* Continue current training and create new training programs and initiatives to support public transportation/labor management workforce development in both the public and private sectors.

* Amend federal authorizing laws for human services transportation, including non-emergency medical transportation, to require coordination among and cost sharing for service delivery with public transportation providers.

* Develop and implement incentives that will facilitate the adoption of new clean fuel technologies, and enhancements to existing technologies to improve fuel economy and emission performance of public transportation equipment.

* Strengthen the public transportation role in regional decision making.

* Direct the Secretary of Transportation to expand the use of categorical exclusions for public transportation projects to the greatest extent allowed by law to help expedite project delivery.

* Include public transportation in congestion pricing plans.

* Increase investment in research and development programs that will enhance service delivery, promote “best practices” through technical standards, and increase the operational efficiency of transportation systems.

* Ensure that public-private partnerships supplement—not substitute—federal funding.

* Provide incentives for using public-private partnerships in the project development process.

* Equalize the federal tax benefits for public transportation and parking.

* Amend the federal tax code to provide a tax credit for employers who pay for the cost of public transportation passes, up to the authorized monthly limit, for employees.


 

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