APTA | Passenger Transport
June 22, 2009

In This Issue


House T&I Committee Releases $500 Billion Authorization Proposal; Includes $99.8 Billion for Transit and $50 Billion for High-Speed Rail

House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee (T&I) Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN) and Ranking Member John Mica (R-FL) announced June 18 the committee’s outline for the next surface transportation authorization bill to replace the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act- A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). This legislation would provide nearly $100 billion for public transportation and $50 billion for high-speed rail as part of $500 billion in total transportation funding. [More]

Administration Proposes 18-Month Authorization Plan

U.S. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood announced that the Obama Administration supports an immediate 18-month transportation reauthorization plan that will shore up the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). “If this step is not taken,” he said, “the trust fund will run out of money as soon as late August and states will be in danger of losing the vital funding they need and expect.” [More]

FTA and FRA Administrators Address Rail Conference
BY SUSAN BERLIN, Senior Editor

At the June 15 Opening General Session of the APTA Rail Conference in Chicago, the newly confirmed FTA and FRA Administrators—Peter M. Rogoff and Joseph C. Szabo respectively—delivered speeches before a packed audience of more than 1,000 people. Both emphasized the critical need for the industry to show movement and success in its Recovery Act projects. [More]

Congress Approves Proposal to Provide Transit Operating Assistance

On June 18, House-Senate conferees filed the Conference Report to accompany H.R. 2346, the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2009, which includes a provision that would allow transit agencies to use up to 10 percent of their American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds to cover operating costs of “equipment and facilities for use in public transportation.” [More]

FTA Awards 14 Percent of ARRA Transit Grants; $1.4 Billion for Projects in 31 States

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has increased the percentage of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grants it has awarded to 14 percent of the total available funds, accounting for more than $1.4 billion in 31 states. [More]

FRA Provides Filing Requirements for ARRA Funds
BY CARMEN GRECO JR., Special to Passenger Transport

On June 17, officials from transit agencies across the country got their first look at the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) filing requirements for an expected rush of grant applications needed to access $8 billion in ARRA funding being made available for high-speed and intercity passenger rail projects. [More]

Ridership Exceeds Expectations in First Quarter of 2009

Public transportation agencies throughout the nation reported a total of nearly 2.6 billion trips in the first quarter of 2009, according to APTA statistics released June 15 by APTA President William Millar.  This amount nearly matched last year’s modern record first quarter ridership—declining by only 1.2 percent, which is still less than the decline of vehicle miles traveled on the nation’s roads (1.7 percent, representing 11.6 billion vehicle miles) during the same period, according to U.S. DOT. [More]

New Survey: Declining Transit Revenues Lead to Fare Increases, Service Cuts

More than 80 percent of U.S. public transportation systems have seen flat or decreased funding at the local, regional, and state levels and, as a result, 89 percent of transit systems facing this decrease have been forced to raise fares or cut service, according to an APTA survey released June 15. [More]

Cabinet Officials Testify on Policy Principles

At a June 16 hearing of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee chaired by Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT), U.S. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson presented a set of six policy principles to guide policy at each agency to expand transportation options while lowering transportation costs, increase the availability of affordable housing, and better protect the environment. [More]

APTA Members Participate in Senate Banking Committee Symposium

Several APTA members participated in a June 19 symposium on the New Starts program before the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, which will write the transit title of the upcoming surface transportation authorization bill. [More]

House, Senate Appropriations Committees Reduce Transit Security Funding

The House Appropriations Committee has approved a bill that significantly reduces funding for transit security grants. The bill provides $250 million for Rail and Transit Security Grant Programs: $150 million less than the Fiscal Year 2009 appropriated level, excluding the $150 million for the program included in the American Recovery and Reauthorization Act (ARRA), and well below the $900 million authorized by the 9/11 Commission Act. [More]


APTA Nominating Committee Seeks Candidates for Election

APTA Chair Dr. Beverly Scott has appointed the nominating committee that will recommend individuals to fill APTA leadership positions to the membership for approval at the APTA Annual Meeting in Orlando Oct. 4-7. [More]

Dump the Pump Day a Success

APTA’s fourth annual National “Dump the Pump” Day, June 18, was a great success as 77 public transit systems around the nation held events to spread the message of how using public transportation instead of driving helps people save money. Also participating were six state public transportation associations. [More]

APTA’s Scott Addresses UITP World Congress in Vienna

APTA Chair Beverly A. Scott, Ph.D., spoke on a multi-national panel devoted to workforce development issues during the International Association of Public Transport’s (UITP) 58th World Congress, June 7-11 in Vienna, Austria, with “Making the right mobility choices” its theme.  At the session, Scott called for transit operators to receive the same respect and consideration as airline pilots. [More]


Opening Session Speakers Emphasize Future of Transit
BY SUSAN BERLIN, Senior Editor

The future of public transit, specifically the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and the coming federal transit authorization bill, was the primary topic at the June 15 Opening General Session of the APTA 2009 Rail Conference in Chicago. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) was the host system for the conference. [More]

How to Win Over Riders—and Keep Them: Tips for Enhancing the Customer Experience
BY SUSAN R. PAISNER, Senior Managing Editor

What changes a choice rider into a “regular” rider? All the speakers at the June 15 “Service to Rail Customers—From Good to Great” workshop offered a range of answers and suggestions for other agencies to follow. [More]

Transit-Oriented Development: Defined by Green Stewardship
BY SUSAN BERLIN, Senior Editor

Transit-oriented development (TOD) refers to a number of policies intended to bring together residential, business, and retail spaces in proximity to a public transportation station or hub.  As presented by experts from throughout North America at a June 16 session, however, that broad definition covered many different techniques for planning and economic development. [More]

Can Rail Operators Improve Safety? ‘You Bet Your Life’
BY SUSAN BERLIN, Senior Editor

People who work around transit rail equipment—as well as drivers and pedestrians in rail corridors—can easily fall victim to injury or death if they don’t pay attention to their surroundings. A June 16 session titled “You Bet Your Life! Human Factor Risks in Operation and Right-of-Way Incidents” addressed this issue from the distinct vantage points of technical research, public transit agency implementation, and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) educational programs. [More]

Public-Private Partnerships: Challenges and Rewards
BY SUSAN R. PAISNER, Senior Managing Editor

What are the challenges? Who will take on the risks? These questions and more were covered in the Monday afternoon session, “Public-Private Partnerships,” moderated by Michael I. Schneider, InfraConsult. [More]

Learning About Safety from CEOs Who ‘Get It’
BY SUSAN BERLIN, Senior Editor

Safe operation must be one of the key responsibilities for public transit operators, but they aren’t the only ones facing this challenge. Transit professionals and suppliers joined representatives of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the National Safety Council (NSC) at a June 15 luncheon in Chicago titled “Leadership and Organizational Change—Starting with the Basics and CEOs Who ‘Get It.’” [More]

Los Angeles Metro Again Takes Top Spot in Rail Rodeo

Los Angeles Metro earned the top honor, the Team Achievement Award, for the second consecutive year at the 17th Annual APTA International Rail Rodeo, held June 13 at the Chicago Transit Authority’s Skokie Yard. Rodeo award winners received their honors June 14 at the first Rail Rodeo Banquet, held in conjunction with the APTA Rail Conference in Chicago. [More]

Honolulu, Chicago Seek Sustainable Solutions; Closing General Session Covers Green Alternatives
BY CARMEN GRECO JR., Special to Passenger Transport

Environmentally sustainable transit systems that work to attack climate change and global warming were in the spotlight during the June 17 Closing General Session of APTA’s 2009 Rail Conference in Chicago. [More]

Advances in Fare Collection Technology Presented
BY MARTIN SCHROEDER, Senior Program Manager-Rail Programs

The key question at the June 16 session “Fare Collection Technology Reaches Adolescence” was: Is fare collection technology mature or still in need of training wheels? [More]

Balancing New Technologies with Old Infrastructure
BY SUSAN BERLIN, Senior Editor

Staying current with technology is a challenge for any public transportation system, but it’s especially difficult for a transit agency with an extensive built infrastructure that requires retrofitting to make the job work. [More]

More Scenes from the Rail Conference

More views of the 2009 APTA Rail Conference in Chicago. All conference photographs by Brian Oh. [More]


Doug Eadie on Leadership—The Empowering CEO: Talking with David Boggs

The chief executive officer as Heroic Leader is a pretty attractive figure to most of us, and most of us probably think of the U.S. presidency in these terms. Guided by a clear vision for the future that he or she aspires to create and blessed with the communication skills required to paint a vivid picture of that vision for others, the Heroic Leader inspires optimism, enthusiasm, and commitment. [More]

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