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December 2, 2011
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National Freight Rail Strike Averted

The National Carriers Conference Committee, which represents 30 freight rail carriers, reached an agreement Dec. 1 with 12 of its 13 unions to avoid a national rail strike. The strike, which could have began as early as Dec. 6, would have had a severe impact for a number of APTA commuter rail systems that run on track owned by freight railroads. [More]

» The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation is looking for a chief executive officer. [More]
» The state of North Carolina seeks a transportation program director, the lead official for the state's public transportation division. [More]
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Metro Inks Houston’s First-Ever Full Funding Grants for Light Rail

Houston’s Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (Metro) will receive $900 million in federal funds for light rail expansion under two Full Funding Grant Agreements (FFGA) awarded during a Nov. 28 signing ceremony. Peter M. Rogoff, administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, joined elected officials and Metro representatives at the event, held at a rail expansion construction site overlooking downtown Houston. [More]


Transit Commuter Benefits Face Cut; APTA Calls Upon Its Members to Contact Congress
BY PAUL DEAN, Vice President of Social Mission, Advocacy, and Education, TransitCenter Inc., New York, NY

For the second time in as many years, the nation’s public transit riders are looking to Congress to extend an expiring provision of the federal tax code that sets the pre-tax limit for the public transportation portion of the commuter benefit at $230 per month.
Congress has until Dec. 31, 2011, to enact legislation that would maintain the current $230 level, which is equivalent to the current pre-tax limit for the parking portion of the benefit. If Congress fails to act, the monthly parking limit will increase to $240, due to an automatic cost-of-living increase, while the public transit limit reverts to $125 per month. [APTA is working on several fronts to preserve this benefit.] [More]

Ansaldo Signs $1.3B Honolulu Contract

Ansaldo Honolulu Joint Venture, a consortium comprising Finmeccanica companies Ansaldo STS (STS.MI) and AnsaldoBreda, has entered into its largest contract ever, valued at $1.33 billion, with the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, to supply technology and vehicles for Honolulu’s new driverless rail line. [More]

Stuffing the Bus for Thanksgiving

Head Start students from Wilmington, DE, were among the participants in DART First State’s 14th annual “Stuff the Bus” Thanksgiving Food Drive, which collected 11.2 tons (22,377 pounds) of non-perishable food for the Food Bank of Delaware—enough to fill three 30-foot buses. [More]

Keolis Acquires Tectrans

Keolis America Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Keolis, has acquired Tectrans Inc., a public transit operator headquartered in California. [More]

MARTA Opens Innovative Solar-Powered Bus Facility

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) recently welcomed Therese McMillan, deputy administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, to commemorate the installation of a locally manufactured solar-powered canopy at a bus garage near Atlanta. The Laredo Garage solar canopy, funded with a $10.8 million federal grant, is the largest structure of its kind in Georgia and the second largest within a U.S. transit system. [More]

Metro-North Restores Port Jervis Service Under Budget, Ahead of Schedule

Three months after closing its Port Jervis Line because of storm and flood damage from Hurricane Irene, MTA Metro-North Railroad restored full train service on the line on Nov. 28—one full month earlier and at a substantially lower cost than originally expected. [More]

The Rapid Breaks Ground for Amtrak Station

The Rapid in Grand Rapids, MI, recently broke ground for a new Amtrak station adjacent to the public transportation agency’s main transfer facility, Rapid Central Station. A pedestrian walkway will connect the two facilities when the Amtrak station opens in 2013. [More]

NCST Opens Online Discussion

The National Center on Senior Transportation (NCST) has announced an online discussion on planning for the transportation needs of older adults as part of its NCST Talks series. The conversations began Nov. 28 and remain open until Dec. 16. [More]


Expanding Transit a Necessity

 Last month, a regional roundtable of 21 local elected officials approved a list of transportation projects to be financed by a 1 percent sales tax. This levy must be approved in a 10-county regional referendum scheduled for July 31.

Will we invest in the necessary and appropriate infrastructure to support future growth and provide a decent quality of life for our residents? Nothing short of that is at stake in this vote. [More]


U.S.-China Transportation Dialogue Forges Ahead; APTA Business Member Involvement Encouraged
BY JULIA WALKER, APTA Program Manager-International Relations

While the U.S. and China are thousands of miles apart and celebrate vastly different cultures and histories, we still find commonalities between them, such as transportation challenges in need of innovative and constructive solutions—and APTA is part of the effort to bring the two nations together. [More]

APTA Awards Six Coalition Grants
BY NICOLE DUPUIS, APTA Program Manager-Policy and Planning

APTA has announced six recipients of its Local Transit Coalition Grants for the Fall 2011 funding cycle. During the past eight years, the grant program has helped support grassroots coalitions and their advocacy efforts to achieve public transportation goals on the state and local levels. [More]

Reserve Now for BMBG Meeting!

The APTA Business Member Board of Governors (BMBG) reminds all business members that the hotel block closes Dec. 10 for the Jan. 11-14, 2012, BMBG meeting in Indian Wells, CA. [More]

TCRP Releases Publications

The Transportation Research Board released several new Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) reports. [More]

APTA, Eno Sign Agreement

APTA and the Eno Transportation Foundation formally recognized their longstanding partnership by signing a cooperative agreement in October. This document acknowledges the complementary visions in support of the public transportation industry that both organizations hold. [More]

Joan Stokes Dies; Wife of First APTA Head

Joan Stokes, wife of B.R. (Bill) Stokes, APTA’s first executive vice president (serving from 1974 to 1980), and a leading real estate agent in Northern Virginia for more than two decades, died Nov. 21 after a brief illness. [More]


N.Y. MTA Recognized for Programs to Assist Small Businesses

The New York & New Jersey Minority Supplier Development Council recognized the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) with its Regional Corporation of the Year Award for its efforts in creating and implementing innovative small business development programs. [More]

Omnitrans Commemorates 35 Years of Service

Omnitrans in San Bernardino, CA, observed the 35th anniversary of its launch of service with a media open house at agency headquarters, followed by free rides throughout the system on Nov. 25. [More]

DART Police Headquarters Still Making History After 97 Years

The U.S. Green Building Council recently honored Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) for its environmentally aware transformation of the former Monroe Shops streetcar maintenance barn into the DART Police headquarters. The building, almost a century old, is the first publicly owned building listed on the National Register of Historic Places to achieve Leadership and Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Platinum Certification, the organization's highest recognition. [More]

Capital Metro Aims to Discourage Smoking at Its Bus Stops

In conjunction with the 36th Great American Smokeout, on Nov. 17 the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Capital Metro) in Austin, TX, launched its plan to discourage tobacco use at its more than 2,700 bus stops. This effort modifies the Tobacco-Free Facilities policy adopted by Capital Metro in 2010 along with a Tobacco-Free Workplace policy. [More]

Capitol Corridor Receives California State Air Quality Grant

The Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) in Oakland, CA, has received a $320,000 Carl Moyer Fund grant from the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District for the purchase of standby power units to run locomotives as they lay over at Capitol Corridor/Amtrak Sacramento Valley Station. This award will provide an additional four cleaner power units, bringing the total number to eight. [More]

Tri-Rail Adds Station Area Maps

The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA)/Tri-Rail in Pompano Beach, FL, has added a new feature to its web site: Transit Connection Area Maps. These show destinations and attractions that are in the general vicinity of all train stations, including how to access them via transfers to county and city buses, Miami-Dade Transit’s Metrorail, or free SFRTA shuttles. The maps are also on display in all Tri-Rail stations. [More]

GDRTA Introduces Video Ads

The Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority (GDRTA) in Dayton, OH, has introduced a new form of advertising to its vehicles. Video has joined interior and exterior signage and audio ads.

FAAC Plans Light Rail Simulator

FAAC Incorporated, part of Arotech Corporation’s Training and Simulation Division, has entered into a $2.1 million contract with Bombardier Transportation to design, develop, and deliver a simulator based on the Toronto Transit Commission’s (TTC) new light rail vehicle. [More]

Denver Board Participates in ‘Telephone Town Halls’

The Regional Transportation District Board of Directors in Denver has entered into an innovative form of dialogue with the community: 15 “telephone town hall meetings” that use updated telephone technology to allow the board members to speak directly with members of the community. [More]

Video Highlights Fuel Economy of PSTA’s Hybrid-Electric Buses

As a result of seeing increased fuel economy on its diesel-hybrid electric buses, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) in St. Petersburg, FL, is the subject of a video documentary being made by Allison Transmission to promote its hybrid bus technology. A production crew from Carmel, IN, spent several days in Pinellas County shooting the video. [More]

BART to Institute ‘Buy America’ Policy for Fleet Purchases

The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) Board of Directors has approved a Buy America Bid Preference policy that gives preference to rail car manufacturers that create U.S. jobs. Board members made the move after saying that, as they prepare to replace BART’s aging train cars with a new fleet, they have heard from both their constituents and state and federal officials that putting Americans back to work should be a strong consideration. [More]

Laketran Honored for Financial Management

Laketran in Lake County, OH, has received recognition at the local, state, and federal levels for the quality of its fiscal management. [More]


Passenger Transport announces the following hirings and promotions in public transportation agencies and business members. Items appear in People on the Move in the order in which they are received. [More]

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