Passenger Transport - July 1, 2011
(Print All Articles)

BREAKING NEWS

$527 Million Available for Third Round of TIGER Grants

DOT has announced the availability of $527 million in Fiscal Year 2011 for a third round of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) competitive grant program. The purpose of TIGER is to fund innovative transportation projects that will create jobs and have a significant impact on the nation, a region, or a metropolitan area.

States, cities, local governments, and other partnerships and groups will have until this fall to prepare their applications for the program, which has funded high-impact projects including roads, bridges, freight rail, transit buses and streetcars, ports, and bicycle and pedestrian paths. The previous two rounds of the TIGER grant program provided $2.1 billion to 126 transportation projects in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

“Through the TIGER program, we can build transportation projects that are critical to America’s economic success and help complete those that might not move forward without this infusion of funding,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This competition empowers local communities to create jobs and build the transportation networks they need in order to win the future.”

More information is available here.

 

NEWS HEADLINES

DOT: $1.58 Billion Awarded for 27 New Starts Projects

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced $1.58 billion for 27 transit projects nationwide in 2011 through the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts and Small Starts program.

“Investing in a modern transportation network is a key part of President Obama's strategy to win the future by out-building and out-competing the rest of the world," LaHood said in his June 27 announcement. “America’s long-term economic success requires investing now in transportation infrastructure capable of moving people and goods more safely, efficiently, and quickly than ever before.”

The following projects received FTA money through existing Full Funding Grant Agreements (FFGAs): Denver’s West Corridor light rail line, $40 million; MTA Long Island Rail Road East Side Access, $215 million; MTA New York City Transit Second Avenue Subway Phase I, $197 million; Dallas Area Rapid Transit Northwest/Southeast light rail minimum operating segment, $86 million; Utah Transit Authority, $100 million for Mid-Jordan light rail and $80 million for Weber County-Salt Lake City commuter rail; Northern Virginia, Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project Extension to Wiehle Avenue, $96 million; Seattle University Link light rail extension, $110 million; and St. Paul-Minneapolis Central Corridor light rail, $45 million.

Among the other New Starts and Small Starts covered in the program are the New Britain-Hartford Busway in Connecticut, a dedicated bus route with 11 stations; the 13-station Eagle Commuter Rail project in Denver, part of the Regional Transportation District’s FasTracks effort; the Rapid C Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line in Seattle, which will connect with Washington State Ferries; and MetroRapid BRT, a 37.5-mile, 40-stop system in Austin, TX.

A detailed report of all 27 projects is available here.

New FTA Funds Now Available; Seeking Sustainability, Livability Proposals

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced June 29 the availability of $101.4 million in competitive federal funding for transit providers to propose innovative projects that create “green” jobs, promote the use of clean fuels, and cut the nation’s dependence on oil.

“This money supports President Obama’s plan to improve the environment and secure America’s energy future,” said LaHood. “These investments will improve public transportation access for millions of Americans—all while reducing our dependence on oil, curbing air pollution, and easing pain at the gas pump.”

The money is being provided competitively through the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) Fiscal Year 2011 Sustainability Initiative, which includes funding from two programs: $51.5 million from the Clean Fuels Grant Program and $49.9 million from the Transit Investment in Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) III Program.

“With high gasoline prices hitting families hard, investments in transit are more important than ever,” said FTA Administrator Peter M. Rogoff. “By giving Americans more transportation choices, we’re providing a win for their pocketbooks and for the environment.”

Clean Fuels grant recipients will be chosen through a competitive selection process based on their ability to help communities achieve or maintain the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone and carbon monoxide, while supporting emerging clean fuel and advanced propulsion technologies for transit buses. TIGGER III grants, which will also use a competitive selection process, will be awarded based on a project’s ability to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions and provide a return on the investment.

For a list of all FTA FY 2011 Discretionary Funding Programs, click here.

FTA also released notices of availability of Fiscal Year 2011 discretionary funds under its Livability Funding Opportunity Program and the $750 million State of Good Repair Initiative, and a solicitation of project proposals. Complete proposals must be submitted no later than July 29, 2011.

The FTA notice covers two programs in support of DOT’s Livability Initiative: Bus and Bus Facilities grants, also known as the Bus Livability Program, and the Alternatives Analysis Program.

Funding for the Bus Livability Program will use at least $150 million in available FY 2011 Discretionary Bus and Bus Facilities Program funds, while the Alternatives Analysis program will be funded using up to $25 million in FY 2010 and FY 2011 discretionary funds. These discretionary program funds will be distributed in accordance with the mission of each program and in support of DOT’s Livability Initiative and the Partnership for Sustainable Communities comprising DOT, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The announcement is available online. All proposals must be submitted electronically; a synopsis of each funding opportunity will be posted in the FIND module of that site. FTA will announce final selections for each program on its web site and in the Federal Register.

For general information on the Bus Livability Program, contact Bryce McNitt. Regarding the Alternatives Analysis Program, contact Kenneth Cervenka.

DCTA’s ‘A-train’ Roars into Denton County, TX

The Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) in Lewisville, TX, initiated service on the A-train, its 21-mile regional rail line, at 5 a.m. June 20 and continued fare-free operation through June 24. DCTA also greeted opening-day riders by giving them breakfast sandwiches.

Southbound commuters began boarding at the Downtown Denton Transit Center as early as 4:30 a.m. Many of the initial early morning customers were destined for the Trinity Mills Station, where they could transfer to Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s Green Line.

“The first week of service was successful. We averaged more than 3,000 passengers a day,” said Tom LeBeau, DCTA vice president of rail development. “We anticipate that, over the next few months, ridership will fluctuate, but these early indications show tremendous interest in the A-train and transportation alternatives.”

In advance of the opening, DCTA introduced the A-train to the public during the June 18 Rock n’ Rail Station Celebration, carrying more than 8,300 passengers in six hours. The agency marked the grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring remarks from Denton Mayor Mark Burroughs, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX), and DCTA Board Chairman Charles Emery, and continued with activities at each of the line’s five stations.

Emery noted that community leaders first proposed regional rail less than 10 years ago, adding: “This major infrastructure project will change the way people travel and change the way our communities grow.”

DCTA used local funds, a combination of sales tax and excess toll revenues, to cover the entire $320 million cost of the A-train project—including design, engineering, capital construction, and vehicle acquisition.

North Texas Rail Group, a joint venture of Herzog Contracting and Archer Western, served as the general contractor for 21 miles of track, five stations, a rail operations and maintenance facility, 43 rail crossings, one elevated overpass, and an eight-mile adjacent bicycle and pedestrian trail, and Herzog Transit Service Inc. has been hired as contract operator for the line. DCTA is using rail vehicles leased from Trinity Railway Express, which connects Dallas and Fort Worth, as it awaits the arrival of vehicles being manufactured by Stadler Bussnang AG in Switzerland.

GCRTA Breaks Ground at Buckeye-Woodhill Station

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) broke ground June 15 for the updated Buckeye-Woodhill Rapid Transit Station on the Blue and Green lines. Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson joined GCRTA Chief Executive Officer and General Manager Joseph Calabrese, as well as representatives of the agency’s board of trustees and Cleveland City Council, at the event.

The current station will remain open during the 15-month construction process for the new $3.3 million facility, designed to be fully accessible under the Americans with Disabilities Act. “This updated station will have an attractive, high-quality design that is passenger-friendly and will make the Buckeye-Woodhill Rapid Transit Station universally accessible,” Calabrese said.

The contemporary style of the new station includes a series of stairs that incorporate ramps to serve customers with disabilities. Transparent fiberglass panels covering the eastbound and westbound platforms will provide a “halo” effect—and greater visibility for customers—during evening hours. The station plan also adds 33 free parking spots.

A public art project at the station will depict a large 1940s-style microphone representing the “heart and soul” of the Buckeye community, a small neighborhood in the city of Cleveland.

NLC Launches Tour on Sustainable Infrastructure

The National League of Cities has announced the July 14 launch of “Building Cities, Building Futures”—a national tour centering on sustainable infrastructure as a catalyst for economic growth—in Houston, with subsequent stops in Los Angeles; Charlotte, NC; and Chicago. Deputy Secretary of Transportation John D. Porcari and former Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell will headline the tour, holding discussions on the infrastructure needs of the nation and how to encourage private investment and development.

The purpose of the tour, sponsored by Siemens, is to bring together representatives of local business, government, and the community to discuss how to effectively plan and prioritize funding and the options available to promote resiliency and create jobs.

“We must get serious about addressing our infrastructure needs if the United States is to remain economically competitive with the rest of the world,” Rendell said. “It’s not just about more infrastructure investments; it’s about smarter investments. It’s about greater accountability and transparency so that the right projects are completed the right way, achieve specific outcomes and deliver the greatest economic returns. It’s also about embracing and rewarding innovation that so often starts in many of our states and cities.”

The sessions will include discussions that correspond directly to the infrastructure needs of the local community. The tour will also focus on the need for effective regional collaboration to solve pressing infrastructure needs.

TIC Meets in St. Louis, Examines Electoral Success

The Center for Transportation Excellence hosted the 2011 Transit Initiatives and Communities (TIC) Conference June 20-22 in St. Louis, hosted by St. Louis Metro.

The biennial TIC brings together public transit agencies, local officials, transportation supporters, advocates, and ballot measure campaign professionals to share the latest information on transportation ballot measures.

As they have become an integral part of transportation finance, this conference represented an opportunity for transportation professionals to share success stories surrounding initiatives in their own communities. This is the only national conference devoted to understanding the role of ballot measures in improving transportation choices and investment, as well as providing advice on how to achieve election success.

The conference, which featured leading national transportation experts and seasoned campaign professionals, offered many opportunities for interaction and dialogue. Plenary sessions provided a broad view of the environment in which transportation advocates will spread their message and reach out to voters.

The schedule included two tracks of concurrent sessions: “Organizing Campaigns” and “Building Coalitions.” For attendees with a ballot measure in process, the Campaign track covered essential tactics for success. The Coalition track was designed for attendees who are still garnering support within their communities for transit investment and improvement.

Presentations from the TIC Conference are available online.

Presutti Named New GM in Des Moines, IA

The Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART) in Des Moines, IA, has named Elizabeth Presutti its general manager, effective July 1. She succeeds Brad Miller, who is joining the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority in St. Petersburg, FL, as its chief executive officer.

Presutti came to DART in 2008 as chief development officer and has 12 years of transit industry experience.

“Not only is Elizabeth well qualified for the position, she is the right person for the job at this critical junction for DART,” said Angela Connolly, Polk County supervisor and chair of the DART Commission. “She is well known and respected throughout the region, and has an intimate knowledge of all of the major projects at DART. Under Elizabeth’s leadership, we won’t skip a beat in our plans to improve public transit for Greater Des Moines.”

Bloomington-Normal, IL, Hires Johnson as GM

The Bloomington-Normal Public Transit System in Bloomington, IL, has hired Andrew Johnson, deputy director of Waukesha Metro Transit in Waukesha, WI, as its new general manager. He joins the agency Aug. 8.

Johnson worked for the Waukesha system as finance officer from 1992 to 1998 and returned in his current post in 2003. In the interim, he worked in financial operations for Protective Life Insurance, HALO Branded Solutions, and Weyerhaeuser Company. He earned both his bachelor’s degree in finance and his master of business administration degree from Marquette University.

He is secretary of the Wisconsin Urban and Rural Transit Association Board of Directors.

NATIONAL DUMP THE PUMP DAY 2011

Transit Agencies: It’s Time to Dump the Pump

More than 130 U.S. public transportation agencies, state transit associations, and vendors conducted activities June 16 in honor of the sixth annual National Dump the Pump Day. The day is an opportunity for the public to discover the many benefits—environmental, economic, and energy-saving—of using transit instead of driving.

On the day itself, there were 592 stories on TV stations across the country. And Googling the day resulted in more than 440,000 hits, including stories in such publications as The Washington Post, Orlando Sentinel, Tucson Citizen, and San Francisco Examiner.

The Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council joined APTA in sponsoring this year’s observance.

Here is a representative sample of Dump the Pump activities nationwide.

Public transit agencies throughout Arizona invited residents of their communities to “take a vacation from high gas prices” and try transit on June 16.

“Dump the Pump AZ is a perfect reason to try riding the bus or light rail, or even finding a carpool partner,” said Valley Metro Chair and Tempe Councilmember Shana Ellis. “We hope residents will find there are smarter ways to travel, which also will provide a payback in both finances and air quality.”

In West Palm Beach, FL, Palm Tran distributed free all-day passes on Dump the Pump Day to all passengers parking at the agency’s six park-and-ride locations.

The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority/Tri-Rail in Pompano Beach set an all-time ridership record on Dump the Pump Day, providing 19,731 trips—the most for a single day in the agency’s 22-year history. Bonnie Arnold, director of marketing and customer service, said: “It was especially encouraging to see so many young people on the trains because, the earlier in life that they discover there are alternatives to driving, the more likely they are to use them.”

The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) in Orange, CA, devoted the entire week of June 13 to Dump the Pump activities, culminating in a rider appreciation event the morning of June 16 at the Anaheim train station. OCTA also invited its riders to sign an online pledge to Dump the Pump by choosing not to drive solo and instead take the bus or train, carpool, ride a bike, walk, or telecommute; participants were eligible for prizes.

The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) in Oakland, CA, distributed Dump the Pump stickers to riders at three stations. If Dump the Pump Squads spotted the stickers, they gave the wearer a $20 BART ticket.

“Winning a $20 BART ticket is a great bonus for our riders, but in a sense we all win when people choose BART instead of driving,” said BART Board President Bob Franklin. “Each weekday, BART riders keep 200,000 gallons of gas from being used and keep four million pounds of CO2 out of the air.”

BART also invited non-riders to submit photos of themselves filling up vehicles at gas pumps showing high per-gallon or total prices. The contest runs through July 11 and the randomly selected winner will receive $500 in BART tickets.

Eight public transportation agencies in the Puget Sound region of Washington State—Community Transit in Snohomish County, Everett Transit, Intercity Transit in Olympia, King County Metro Transit in Seattle, Kitsap Transit in Bremerton, Pierce Transit in Lakewood, Sound Transit in the central Puget Sound region, and Washington State Ferries—joined together to mark Dump the Pump Day.

For example, King County Metro Transit and Sound Transit jointly served coffee and pastries during the morning commute at four transit centers; Intercity Transit hosted customer appreciation activities at its transit centers; and Sound Transit gave away several ORCA regional smart cards loaded with $10 as part of a Twitter promotion.

The Riverside Transit Agency (RTA) in Riverside, CA, hosted a Dump the Pump art contest to showcase the benefits of riding the bus at a time of high gas prices. RTA accepted submissions—from sculpture to paintings, from sketches to digital images, as well as video and audio—through July 1. The top three winners will earn unlimited rides for a month and other prizes, while the first-place winner also will receive an iPod Touch.

IndyGo in Indianapolis also provided free service all day on both its local fixed routes and its Open Door paratransit service, using federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant money to cover costs.

Laketran in Grand River, OH, joined representatives of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency and other organizations at a Dump the Pump event to promote cost-saving transportation options including public transit, biking, pedestrian travel, and carpooling.

City Utilities in Springfield, MO, reported record ridership of 7,752 on Dump the Pump Day, compared to 7,005 last year and about 4,800 on an average summer weekday. The agency offered free doughnuts and coffee to all customers traveling through its downtown transit station on the day, which fell during Communities in Motion Week.

In St. Louis, volunteer employee Ambassadors thanked passengers on the Metro system and distributed “I Dumped the Pump for Transit” stickers. Metro also invited people who used the transit system that day to register by mail or online to win a prize.

 

 

In Cincinnati, Metro kicked off its Money Grab contest, sponsored by Cricket Wireless, on Dump the Pump Day. More than 100 visitors stopped by the agency's booth on Fountain Square, in the heart of downtown Cincinnati, to enter the contest and spin a wheel of prizes to win Metro items--or go inside a "money machine" to grab as many flying bus passes and Cricket Wireless coupons as possible in 30 seconds. The contest continues online through Aug. 19. 

The Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) in Dayton, OH, welcomed more than 250 guests to its event, which featured complimentary food and prize giveaways. The program included the presentation of the Wheelie Award, 31-day passes, and gift baskets to the top three winers of the VidWheel Award video contest and showings of all 12 videos on a large television screen. The videos also can be seen at the GDRTA web site. 

 

 

In anticipation of Dump the Pump Day, the Central Ohio Transit Authority in Columbus hosted a flash mob June 14 in downtown Columbus. The scheduled but un-choreographed event brought together a crowd to jam to the song "Double Dutch Bus" by Frankie Smith, then scatter. In the background is a television news truck, which shot live footage for the noon news broadcast. 

Houston's Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County brought home the impact of high gasoline prices by displaying a nine-foot, 170-pound pinata in the shape of a gas pump in its office lobby. Community members (including George Greanias, president & chief executive officer of Houston Metro, pictured) could whack away at the pinata, which was filled with $5 Metro Money passes and 50 pounds of candy. 

 

 

The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority in Tampa, FL, invited riders to upload photos to the agency's Facebook page for a chance to win farecards. 

Interns at the Maryland Transit Administration in Baltimore took to the streets--specifically, the mouth of I-83, the main transportation feeder road into the city--during rush hour to share the Dump the Pump message. They derived their inspiration from the famous cover of the Beatles' "Abbey Road" album. 

 

 

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) spread its Dump the Pump events over two days. On June 15, agency representatives distributed free two-ride passes to commuters in downtown parking lots and drivers filling their gas tanks at a station near downtown. The next day, GCRTA participated in a regional event with Laketran and Akron METRO, which included giving free slices of pizza to transit riders who displayed their farecards and commentary from a local radio personality. 

For the second year in a row, Greensboro Transit Authority (GTA) in Greensboro, NC, invited the public to enter the "Heckle the Pump" contest by submitting the best clean joke regarding fuel prices or the automobile. The winner will get a "Heckle the Pump" experience that includes a pair of tickets to see comedian Martin Lawrence in concert, dinner for two, and bus passes for two,. The winning joke will appear on the side of several GTA buses and the agency's web site, and the teller will have an opportunity to deliver the joke on camera for posting on GTA's social media sites. 

 

The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Capital Metro) in Austin, TX, hosted a lunchtime celebration June 16 in Brush Square Park, adjacent to the Downtown MetroRail Station. In addition to live jazz performances, Capital Metro officials announced new car-sharing options and recognized the winners of its "Dump the Pump, Ride with Us" campaign. 

APTA NEWS

Register for Transit Board Members Seminar, July 23-26 in Jersey City

Public transportation board members and their staff will benefit from the specialized instruction offered at the 2011 APTA Transit Board Members Seminar & Board Support Employee Development Workshop, July 23-26 at the Hyatt Regency Jersey City in Jersey City, NJ.

Major sessions will include:

* Housing, Urban Development, and Public Transportation. Community development is about the synergy between housing, work, and transportation. Creating more livable communities is coming from non-traditional collaborations among local and regional participants such as the federal government, transit agencies and railroads, communities, non-profits, and the private sector.

* Mobility Management for the 21st Century. With more people using community and public transportation, riders and service providers see a need for more highly coordinated mobility options. Mobility management is a strategic approach to service coordination and customer service that moves away from fixed-route-only operation toward collaboration with many transportation providers to create a full range of well-synchronized mobility services.

* The Board Member’s Role in System Safety and Security. This panel—including Deborah Hersman, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, and former Deputy Secretary of Transportation Mortimer L. Downey III—will consider the achievements that have been made in U.S. and international public transportation safety and security affairs, as well as measures that individual transit agencies can adapt.

More information about the seminar is available here.

FTA’s McMillan to Address Workshop on Sustainability and Public Transit

Therese McMillan, deputy administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, will present the keynote address Aug. 1 at APTA’s 2011 Sustainability & Public Transportation Workshop, July 31-Aug. 2 at the Omni Los Angeles Hotel at California Plaza. “The Value of Sustainability: Increasing Quality, Efficiency and Community Benefits in an Ever-Changing Environment” is the theme of the workshop.

Sustainability is an important topic right now, so public transportation professionals will want to participate in sessions addressing environmentally and energy efficient, economically sound, and socially responsible developments and practices to advance transit’s role in creating a sustainable community.

In addition, Los Angeles Metro, host system for the workshop, has scheduled four Sustainability in Action Tours the afternoon of July 31:

* Metro Support Services Center, an energy-efficient complex equipped with the largest solar installation in Los Angeles;

* El Monte Station, the first phase of a “transit village” development between Metro and El Monte, and neighboring Metro Division 9 Operations Building, the agency’s first LEED-certified facility;

* Metro Red Line Transit-Oriented Development at three station sites; and

* Metro Orange Line Busway Tour/Bike Tour, a multimodal journey incorporating Bus Rapid Transit and bike paths.

More information about the workshop is available online or from Rich Weaver.

 

 

TCRP Seeks Ambassadors

The Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) is seeking new ambassadors for the 2011-2013 term. Ambassadors will travel to various areas of the country to enhance the understanding, acceptance, and use of TCRP-sponsored research products.

More information about the TCRP Ambassador program, including how to apply, is available here.

‘Generation Green on Board’


 

 


APTA welcomed 50 high school juniors and seniors from across the U.S. as they participated in its second Youth Summit, June 26-30 in Washington, DC. During the five-day event, summit participants heard from transportation leaders including Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (top photo), FTA Administrator Peter M. Rogoff (center left), and APTA President William Millar (center right); visited Capitol Hill and met lawmakers; toured two area transit agencies; and learned about career possibilities in the public transportation industry.

COMMENTARY

America Stumbles Forward

BY JOEL EPSTEIN

This article originally appeared June 23, 2011, online at Huffington Post Los Angeles. Reprinted by permission of the author.

Dear America:

Don’t get me wrong. I’m almost as delighted as Hizonner himself that LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is the new president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. What better perch from which to pitch the country, Congress and the president on the merits of America Fast Forward?

For those who don’t know, America Fast Forward is the smart, homegrown public infrastructure-financing plan that will let LA and other cities accelerate construction of taxpayer-supported public transportation projects.

Along with Metro, the City of LA and a raft of nonprofits, unions and consultants hungry for work, the mayors are certainly doing their part to advance the plan, which grew out of LA’s 30/10 Initiative and Measure R.

And if you still need proof of the growing interest in the America Fast Forward model then you should have been at Tuesday’s Moving LA Fast Forward conference in downtown LA. The event which drew several hundred enthusiastic backers eager to learn more about the plan and what they might do to help move it ahead, featured a number of fine speakers as well as some excellent questions from an informed audience.

Panelist Sunyoung Yang, lead organizer for the Bus Riders Union, made the important point that if we are not seeing increased ridership following all of the current transit construction, the public will lose confidence in the investment.

Jessica Meaney of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership stole the show with her energy and insights on transit-oriented development, walking and biking in LA while Mike Schneider of InfraConsult, shared his concern that if we let Congress reshape the conversation to be about finding strictly public-private partnership (P3) solutions to our transportation needs, we do so at our peril. The remark was all the more powerful coming from a seasoned expert on P3s and the opportunity they present for Los Angeles.

I left the conference optimistic but preoccupied with the sobering thought that if we don’t win on America Fast Forward or reshuffle the Measure R project deck, we may have to wait until 2036 to see the extension of the Wilshire subway to the Westwood VA. It seems there ought to be a law against the kind of political horse-trading that put lower-priority projects first in line even though the subway extension will carry more commuters than any of the other Measure R projects.

As for America Fast Forward, we have our work cut out for us. Sadly, thanks in part to partisan politics the reality remains an America stumbling, rather than speeding, forward on public infrastructure investment and economic recovery.

And in spite of the now well-coordinated efforts of Metro, the City, the Chamber of Commerce, the unions and environmental groups, plus some good press, America Fast Forward still lacks the national recognition and enthusiasm it will need to win over the hearts and minds of Congress.

Perhaps the recently released non-partisan Vision Los Angeles report with its thoughtful strategies and solutions for transforming transportation in Los Angeles will help push America Fast Forward to the top of the public’s agenda.

If you think I am being dramatic about the importance of the plan to our economic recovery, think again. Without Los Angeles and California back on their feet economically we are not going anywhere as a country.

This week’s America Fast Forward pep rally did a good job of rousing the local troops. Here’s hoping LA and the rest of the country’s cities can bump up their game and create the finely honed campaign we will need to move America to fast forward.

Yours in transit,
Joel

Joel Epstein is a communications and public affairs consultant focused on transportation, development, and other urban issues.

 

 

Among the projects included in Los Angeles Metro's 30/10 Initiative are the Orange Line Extension, currently under construction, and the Foothill Extension of Metro Gold Line light rail, which now terminates at Pasadena.

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

People on the Move

Colin Groth
CINCINNATI, OH—Colin Groth, an employee of Cincinnati Metro since 2006, has been promoted to government relations director.

Groth also served as inaugural chair of Mayor Mark Mallory’s Young Professional Kitchen Cabinet transportation committee, was named to the 2009 Business Courier Forty Under 40, and was selected to participate in the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s 2010 C-Change leadership development program.



 
Thomas George
BUFFALO, NY—The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) has named Thomas George its director of surface transportation. He succeeds Walter D. Zmuda, who retired in November 2010.

George comes to NFTA from the Niagara International Transportation Technology Coalition, where he was executive director for the past eight years. This bi-national coalition brings together 14 state, provincial, and local transportation agencies in concert with U.S. and Canadian federal authorities to address transportation and mobility opportunities.


Dennis D. Louwerse
READING, PA—The Pennsylvania Public Transportation Association (PPTA) honored Dennis D. Louwerse, executive director/chief executive officer of the Berks Area Regional Transportation Authority, with its lifetime achievement award.

Louwerse has served a number of terms as chairman of PPTA and was vice chairman of small operations for APTA. He currently serves as a member of the Pennsylvania State Transportation Commission.

Richard Stegner
ALEXANDRIA, VA—Keolis Rail Services Virginia, operator of Virginia Railway Express, has appointed Richard Stegner superintendent of equipment

Stegner has more than 34 years of experience in the public transportation industry, including project management, design engineering, and manufacturing of railroad motive power and mechanical systems. He is a member of the Federal Railroad Administration’s Railroad Safety Advisory Committee.



Raymond Mui
ALEXANDRIA, VA—Raymond Mui has joined the Alexandria Transit Company as its transit planning manager.

Mui is a recent civil engineering graduate of Purdue University in Lafayette, IN. During his tenure at Purdue, he worked in the Department of Development and Marketing at the Greater Lafayette Public Transportation Corporation.

He began his transit career when he was 16 years old with a two-year term on the Montgomery County Transit Advisory Group in Rockville, MD, and subsequently became an intern at Montgomery County Ride-On Bus.

Brian J. Falkowski, Kevin Malecek, Jeannette Crislip
LAKE COUNTY, OH—The Lake County Commissioners appointed Brian J. Falkowski to Laketran’s Board of Trustees and reappointed Kevin Malecek and Jeannette Crislip; all three will serve three-year terms.

Falkowski earned his bachelor’s degree at John Carroll University and is close to completing his master of business administration degree at Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University.

Malecek, the current board president, has served on the board since 2005, while Crislip has served since 2004.

Constance Gully
ST. LOUIS, MO—Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has named Constance Gully to the St. Louis Metro Board of Commissioners. She succeeds Dr. Richard LaBore, whose term expired.

Since 2001, Gully has served as vice president for business and financial affairs at Harris-Stowe State University. She joined the university as its comptroller in 1998.





Kenneth Mitchell

NEW YORK, NY—Kenneth Mitchell has been named program manager of information security at Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB).

Mitchell has extensive experience in information technology (IT) and as an IT security leader. Prior to joining PB, he was security and compliance manager for Kraft’s outsourced security program at EDS and earlier held management positions at Altria/Kraft, Citi Group, and IBM.




Jeffrey Parker, Al Trotta, Joseph Pizzurro, Lester Eckrich
KANSAS CITY, MO—HNTB Corporation announced the addition of four employees in its Northeast Division: Jeffrey Parker and Al Trotta, P.E., both in the Philadelphia office; Joseph Pizzurro, P.E., in New York; and Lester (Les) Eckrich, P.E., in Wayne, NJ.

Parker joined HNTB as an associate vice president and senior project manager. He comes to the firm after serving as commissioner of Connecticut DOT and has more than 22 years of senior-level experience at multimodal transportation agencies.

Trotta, a senior project manager, brings more than 30 years of experience in engineering with organizations including MTA Long Island Rail Road and the Port Authority Transit Corporation. Most recently, he was president and chief operating officer of a multi-disciplinary engineering firm based in Florida.

Pizzurro’s title is associate vice president, director of rail, New York metropolitan area. His more than 16 years of track, structural, and civil engineering rail-related design and construction expertise includes working on MTA Metro-North Railroad’s new Yankees-E.153rd Street station.

Eckrich joined HNTB as a senior project manager after 29 years with New Jersey Transit Corporation in positions ranging from facilities engineer in the Bus Operations Unit to chief engineer in the Capital Planning and Programs Division.