Passenger Transport - March 8, 2013
(Print All Articles)

NEWS HEADLINES

Funding Issues Dominate APTA’s 2013 Legislative Conference

BY CHRISTIAN RICHARDS, APTA Legislative Analyst

It is that time of year again, when APTA members migrate to Washington, DC, to meet with their elected congressional representatives and discuss important issues facing public transportation. The 38th Annual APTA Legislative Conference is the public transportation industry’s best opportunity to ensure that public transit’s message is heard loud and clear in ­Washington, and this year presents no shortage of legislative issues to address.

With Congress and the Obama administration failing to reach agreement on ways to reduce the federal deficit and debt, the Budget Control Act’s sequestration provision kicked in on March 1, forcing across-the-board spending cuts to both defense and nondefense discretionary programs. While the Highway Trust Fund programs, including those funded from the Mass Transit Account, are exempt from sequestration cuts, transit programs funded with general funds—such as New Starts, FTA administration, and FTA research, as well as emergency relief for public transit systems damaged by Hurricane Sandy and grants to Amtrak and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority—did have their budgets cut on March 1. These are important programs to our industry, and the Legislative Conference provides APTA members with an opportunity to tell Congress how these cuts will affect their community, system, or business.

Congress is also rapidly approaching another budget deadline, as the current Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 short-term appropriations continuing resolution (CR) expires on March 27. The House Appropriations Committee began work on a full-year funding bill to fund federal programs for the remainder of FY 2013 early last week, but it will likely take through the end of the month for Congress to wrap up its work on this legislation.

While APTA members are on Capitol Hill, they should urge Congress to provide full funding for public transportation programs at the levels authorized by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) in any full-year appropriations bill. Congress will also soon begin work on budget resolutions in the House and Senate and on the FY 2014 appropriations bills. APTA members should urge Congress to fully fund MAP-21 authorized programs in FY 2014 appropriations bills as well.

Looking a bit further down the track, the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA) and the Rail Safety Improvement Act (RSIA) expire at the end of this fiscal year. Congressional staff from House and Senate railroad committees will participate in a new session at this year’s Legislative Conference, dedicated exclusively to rail issues. Members interested in passenger rail and the PRIIA and RSIA bills should plan to attend this new session.

Another new session, Funding and Finance, will explore the future of public transportation funding and where some of our coalition partners stand on this important issue. With the future of the gas tax uncertain, both the industry and Congress need to explore all options to ensure the viability of continued federal investment in public transportation.

As hundreds of industry leaders are gathering at the Legislative Conference to examine these and many other critical issues facing public transportation, the message is clear: Industry officials need to make certain that policymakers know that public transportation—agencies, manufacturers, and the entire business community—makes a lasting, positive impact on our country and is essential in advancing national goals.


APTA Moves Quickly to Develop Recommendations for Key Laws
APTA’s Authorization Task Force is currently evaluating MAP-21 and creating new recommendations for members of Congress to consider as they debate the legislation’s reauthorization when it expires on Sept. 30, 2014.

The task force was put into place shortly after MAP-21 was signed into law when APTA Legislative Committee Chairman Jeff Nelson, Chair Flora Castillo, and President & CEO Michael Melaniphy agreed that developing forward-looking recommendations—based on member feedback—was a clear priority for the association and the industry. The task force is led by five member co-chairs.

In addition to the co-chairs, Castillo, Nelson, and Melaniphy invited a diverse group of APTA members to participate in the process to set recommendations.

The task force will submit its report to the Legislative Committee, which will review and submit final recommendations to the APTA board. The board has set the end of 2013 as a target date to approve and issue the final recommendations.

A separate effort is underway to develop industry consensus on rail safety and ­passenger rail legislation, which expires in September. The Rail Safety Improvement Act (RSIA) and the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA) were jointly signed into law in 2008 and both require reauthorization this year.

To meet this timeline, Nelson charged the APTA Commuter and Intercity Rail Legis­lative Subcommittee with developing APTA’s principles and recommendations for new legislation on these issues.

The subcommittee is composed of members who represent a broad swath of the ­passenger rail industry. It is co-chaired by Stan Feinsod, passenger rail consultant, and Joe Giulietti, executive director of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority/Tri-Rail.

For more information or to submit feedback, contact APTA’s government affairs team at 202-496-4800.

APTA Urges Congress to Fully Restore MAP-21 Funds

As Passenger Transport went to press, the House approved, by a 265-151 vote, a continuing resolution that includes across-the-board reductions to federal departments, agencies, and programs, including those authorized under MAP-21—cuts that APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy strongly urged the Congress to restore in a written statement. His full statement follows:

“The American Public Transportation Association urges Congress in the strongest possible terms to fully fund the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) law that both Houses of Congress approved with overwhelming bipartisan support last year. We are disappointed that the U.S. House of ­Representatives approved an FY 2013 Full-Year Continuing Resolution (H.R. 933) that applies across-the-board reductions to MAP-21 funding levels. The House-passed bill would reduce federal funding to modernize public transportation systems and invest in bus facilities and vehicles by more than $117 million. It will also further reduce Federal Transit Administration administrative funding and research programs that were already cut under the sequester.

“The funding levels in MAP-21 are fully paid for with offsets included in the bill and do not increase the federal deficit. As the bill advances through the legislative process in the House and Senate, we urge Congress to preserve the levels agreed to in MAP-21 that will fund badly needed capital investments in public transit systems around the nation and leverage state and local investment. These dollars are critical to creating jobs and getting people back to work across the country.”

The continuing resolution is a stopgap measure to keep the federal government open past March 27, when current funding is set to expire, and locks in sequester cuts for the rest of the federal fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. The bill has been sent to the Senate.

Chairs of three Senate committees with jurisdiction over transportation issues expressed their concern with the cuts in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). Sens. Tim Johnson (D-SD), chairman of the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; Barbara Boxer (D-CA), chairman of the Committee on Environment and ­Public Works; and Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, said failing to uphold the bipartisan, bicameral agreement in MAP-21 means funding cuts of more than $785 million overall and the loss of 25,000 jobs over the year.

“Instead of preserving the ­funding levels authorized in MAP-21, this continuing resolution would apply an across-the-board reduction to the funding levels included in MAP-21 that would result in transportation spending levels even lower than those enacted in FY 2012, and in certain cases would apply drastic reductions to highway safety programs,” the three senators wrote.

Three Agencies Receive $390 Million for Post-Sandy

FTA recently allocated nearly $390 million in federal Fiscal Year 2013 Disaster Relief Appropriations Act funds to three major public transportation agencies affected last year by Hurricane Sandy—New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA); Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation (PATH), Jersey City, NJ; and Philadelphia’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)—to reimburse them for expenses incurred while preparing for and recovering from the storm. This funding is not affected by the continuing resolution recently passed by the House. (See related story.)

The funding for each agency is as follows:

* MTA received $193 million for repair and restoration of East River tunnels; the South Ferry/Whitehall subway station; the Rockaway commuter rail line; rail yards, maintenance shops, and other facilities; and heavy rail cars. The funds support work by MTA New York City Transit, MTA Staten Island Railroad, MTA Long Island Rail Road, MTA Metro-North Railroad, and MTA Bus.

* PATH received funding for two sets of projects. First, $141.5 million to address Sandy’s catastrophic impact on commuter rail service between New York and New Jersey, including establishment of ­alternative commuter service; repairs to electric substations and signal infrastructure; replacement and repair of rolling stock; and repairs to ­maintenance facilities. The second, for $54 million, will go to the World Trade Center Hub project, which was inundated by approximately 125 million gallons of tidal water. Recovery efforts included pumping, cleaning up debris, and repairing or replacing damaged and destroyed property such as electrical switchgear and substation equipment.

* SEPTA received $1.2 million related to securing and protecting transit service serving Philadelphia and four neighboring counties prior to the storm, emergency activities during and after the storm to resume service as quickly as possible, and enhanced customer service to communicate with the public when ­service was suspended or resumed.

The funds are the first to be allocated as part of the disaster relief package enacted Jan. 29 for FTA’s Public Transportation Emergency Relief Program, which allows FTA to make grants for eligible public transportation capital and operating costs in the event of a federally declared disaster.

The Disaster Relief Appropriations Act authorized a total of $10.9 billion; however, the sequestration that took effect March 1 decreased that amount by 5 percent, or $545 million.

More information about this process is available online.

Rosa Parks Statue Unveiled at U.S. Capitol

Rosa Parks, who helped launch the civil rights movement when she refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus, has been honored with the placement of a life-sized statue in the famed Statuary Hall in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol.

Parks is the first black woman to be so honored. The statue portrays Parks as she remained seated on the bus awaiting arrest on Dec. 1, 1955 in Montgomery, AL. Her arrest sparked a year-long boycott of the bus system; subsequently, in 1956, a U.S. Supreme Court decision affirmed that segregation on buses was unconstitutional.

The unveiling ceremony on Feb. 27 attracted dozens of Washington, DC, officials, including President Barack Obama and congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle. “This morning, we celebrate a seamstress, slight of stature but mighty in courage,” Obama said during the ceremony. “And today, she takes her rightful place among those who shaped this nation’s course.”

Parks, who died in 2005, received numerous honors during her life and posthumously, including being portrayed by the U.S. Postal Service on a “Forever®” postage stamp on Feb. 4, which would have been her 100th birthday.

In 1997, APTA honored Parks with its first Lifetime Achievement Award at a ­ceremony in Washington, DC’s, Union Station, which she attended.

Photo by Reuters

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), left, President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) lead the applause at the unveiling of a statue honoring Rosa Parks in Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol.

600,000 Americans Have Commutes of 90 Minutes Plus, Says Census Bureau

About 8 percent of U.S. workers—almost 11 million people—had commutes of 60 minutes or longer, and nearly 600,000 full-time workers had “mega-commutes” of at least 90 minutes and 50 miles in 2011, far exceeding the average one-way daily commute of about 25 minutes, according to a the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey (ACS), released on March 5.

Of those long and mega-commuters, 23 percent took public transportation compared with 5.3 percent for all workers, and about 61 percent of workers with long commutes drove to work alone, compared with nearly 80 percent for all workers who worked outside the home.

“The average travel time for workers who commute by public transportation is higher than that of workers who use other modes,” said Brian McKenzie, a Census Bureau ­statistician and author of the report. “For some workers, using transit is a necessity, but others simply choose a longer travel time over sitting in traffic.”

Rail travel accounted for about 12 percent of workers with long commutes; other forms of ­public transpor­tation accounted for about 11 percent.

Long and mega-commuters are primarily concentrated around large ­cities—New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, DC, and New Orleans. Workers in New York State show the highest rate of long commutes at about 16 percent, followed by ­Maryland and New Jersey at nearly 15 percent each.

Based on the 2006-2010 ACS, about 587,000 full-time workers are mega commuters, or one in 122 full-time workers. Mega commuters were more likely to be male, older, married, earn a higher ­salary, have a spouse who does not work, and to depart for work before 6 a.m.

The ACS is an ongoing survey conducted annually by the U.S. Census Bureau that captures changes in the socioeconomic, housing, and demographic characteristics of communities across the United States and Puerto Rico. The ACS travel-related questions focus solely on commuting and do not ask about leisure travel or other non-work trips. Respondents answer questions about where they live, where they work, what time they leave home for work, the means of transportation used to get there, the number of workers riding in a car, truck, or van, and how long, in minutes, it takes to travel to work, among others.

The ACS provides a wide range of important statistics about people and housing for every community across the nation. The results are used by individuals ranging from town and city planners to transportation officials to retailers and homebuilders. The survey is the only source of local estimates for most of the 40 topics it covers, including commuting, for even the smallest communities.

To learn more, click here.

APTA Meets with Conference of Mayors


APTA leaders were invited to a special briefing with Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, president, U.S. Conference of Mayors, and other Philadelphia leaders to discuss public transportation’s role in community and economic development. Those in attendance were, from left, Andrew Stober, chief of staff, Philadelphia Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities Rina Cutler; Francis E. Kelly, assistant general manager, public and government affairs, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority; APTA Chair Flora Castillo, board member, New Jersey Transit Corporation; Mayor Nutter; APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy; and Art Guzzetti, APTA vice president-policy.

Public Health & Public Transportation


APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy joined U.S. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin, MD, MBA, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), and representatives of the National Prevention Council in the Indian Treaty Room at the White House on Feb. 28. The meeting focused on ways to implement key elements of  Surgeon General’s initiative, the National Prevention Strategy, designed to strengthen health care access and improve health through prevention.

Stephens Is New GM in Midland-Odessa

Rob Stephens has joined the Midland-Odessa Urban Transit District (EZ Rider), Odessa, TX, as its general manager. He is a vice president of ­McDonald Transit Associates Inc., which operates public transit service under contract.

Stephens came to EZ Rider from Longview, TX, where he was general manager of Longview Transit Management through McDonald from May 2010 to November 2012. Previously, he was director of transportation for the Concho Valley Council of ­Governments, San Angelo, TX.

He served as chairman of the East Texas Regional Transportation Coordination Planning Steering Committee charged with addressing Chapter 461 of HB 3588, passed by the Texas Legislature in 2003, requiring that state planning regions prepare regional transit coordination plans.

In 2012, Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst appointed Stephens to the Texas DOT Commission Public Transportation Advisory Committee.

Boyer Joins Atkins as CEO for North America

Joe Boyer will join Atkins in Tampa, FL, as chief executive officer of its North American region on March 18.

Boyer comes to Atkins from Shaw Environmental & Infrastructure Inc. in Austin, TX, where he has been president of the Federal Division. He has managed multiple business lines since 2003.

Prior to his service at Shaw, he was chief operating officer of Asset Group, Inc. and vice president of Project Resources, Inc., both in San Diego, CA. He is a civil engineer by profession.

Boyer succeeds Maj. Gen. L. Dean Fox, USAF (Ret.), who is retiring as North American chief executive officer.

COMMENTARY

Welcome to APTA’s 38th Annual Legislative Conference!

BY MICHAEL P. MELANIPHY, APTA President & CEO

We have a stellar program this year with distinguished speakers and experts, many of whom are highlighted in the pages that follow. You will hear from officials representing U.S. DOT, members of Congress, House and Senate staff who work on transportation issues, and our coalition partners.

Those of you visiting Washington will have the opportunity to meet with your representatives in the House and Senate. I encourage you to set up appointments with them if you have not already. During those meetings, be clear and concise about why you need increased federal funding to serve their constituents. When you speak to Congress, you speak for yourselves, and for the people you serve.

Those of you who represent businesses must make sure you explain why the federal program is important to you. Cite how many people you employ and how many more you could hire with an increase in federal funding.

Each of you has a unique story to tell. Explain the impact on your riders when you are unable to replace old buses. Tell Congress what it would cost to replace those buses, and what you cannot buy with current local and federal resources. Tell them what more you could have achieved if you had a stable, sustainable source of funding. And how many more people you could have served. As APTA Chair Flora Castillo says, “It’s All About the People!”

Remind them that sustainable, predictable funding of a long-term bill would address this nation’s critical state of good repair and capacity constraints. It would ensure our nation could operate and compete globally.

Public transit, when it is well run, facilitates increased efficiencies for the overall existing transportation infrastructure. It is not about transit; it’s about the more efficient use of already scarce resources. We know that fewer cars on the roads allows for more efficient movement of commerce and enhanced competitiveness. It is particularly critical in this period of limited resources that we make the system work better, more efficiently and at less cost.

Our nation’s citizens are demanding more public transit. Last year, voters nationwide approved 49 of 62 public transit initiatives. That’s nearly 80 percent!

Constituents are voting with their feet, by taking transit, and with their wallets, because they showed they are willing to tax themselves to ensure more and improved public transit options.

Remember that members of Congress deal with literally thousands of issues unrelated to public transportation. So it is our job to help them to understand the crucial role public transit plays in their districts. Cite real-life examples whenever possible. Bring data and remember APTA has many resources you can tap: Legislative Alerts, calls to action, and Issue Briefs. You’ll find these on our website and additional tools in these pages of Passenger Transport.

When you return home, don’t forget to follow up by meeting those representatives in their home districts and inviting them to your systems and facilities.

Federal investment in public transit is key to the future of our nation and the generations to follow. Make sure your representatives know that the taxes that support the Highway Trust Fund, which includes both the Mass Transit Account and Highway Account, will not support even current program levels after MAP-21 expires. Tell your representatives that we cannot afford to cut the public transit or highway programs. Explain that the current Highway Trust Fund can only support approximately 70 percent of the current program levels.

We need more, not less, investment in the nation’s infrastructure if we are to meet the needs of a growing nation and increases in ridership. At Monday’s Opening General Session, I will announce the new ridership numbers for 2012. Stay tuned!

As we look to the future, it is important that as an industry we speak with one voice as we continue to advocate and build momentum for passage of the next surface transportation bill. We’ve already begun to plan for life after MAP-21 by developing recommendations for the next bill and we will be an influential player in discussions about a multi-year transportation bill. We’re working with both the veterans and new members of the 113th Congress, including new House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Bill Shuster, who will be speaking at this conference. Securing a long-term, multimodal bill will ensure that public transit systems and businesses will be able to plan for the future.

The members of APTA’s Legislative Committee’s Authorization Task Force are also developing consensus policy recommendations for the bill that will replace MAP-21. I want to thank the following for their commitment and dedication: Randall Chrisman, board member, Dallas Area Rapid Transit; Nuria Fernandez, chief operating officer, New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority; Carolyn Flowers, chief executive officer, Charlotte Area Transit System; Sharon Greene, principal, ­Sharon Greene and Associates; and Carl ­Sedoryk, general manager/CEO, ­Monterey-Salinas Transit.

I also want to recognize the committee’s chair, Jeff Nelson, general manager, Rock Island County Metropolitan Mass Transit District, and APTA Vice Chair Peter Varga, CEO, The Rapid, for their steadfast leadership.

Advocating for the interests of public transportation systems and businesses is one of APTA’s most important missions. With the help of our members and our partners, we will continue our mandate to keep fighting for the public transit dollars that have proven to be an engine for growth and a lifeline for mobility.

These are challenging times. We need to have our voices heard loudly and clearly. Each one of you has the power to effect change. As we look to the next authorization, we must recognize that this is a new era; old stand-bys don’t work anymore. If we are to maintain our momentum, now more than ever we must be able to adapt. Only then will we succeed.

APTA MEMBER PROFILE

Meet Jeffrey A. Nelson!

Jeffrey A. Nelson
GENERAL MANAGER
Rock Island County Metropolitan Mass Transit District (MetroLINK)
Moline, IL
Designated Committee Chair Director, APTA Board of Directors
Chair, APTA Legislative Committee
Member, Member Services, Small Operations, Bus and Paratransit CEOs, and Waterborne Transit Operations committees
Member, Diversity Council

How many people do you employ/how many people at your agency?
Over 150 transit operators, customer service representatives, mechanics, and operations and administrative staff create the outstanding team at MetroLINK.

How long have you worked in the public ­transportation industry?
I’ve been in the industry going on 30 years.

How long have you been an APTA member?
Not only have I been at MetroLINK all those years, I’ve also been an APTA member for the same time.

What drew you to a career in public transportation?
Good question! It was completely by happenstance. I was employed in the commercial insurance business and that industry experienced a significant economic downturn at the time. I was offered a position with MetroLINK that I thought was going to be short-term. It ended up being my career. I will say that I’ve only had one promotion in 30 years—as general ­manager—so I often joke that I’m in a “dead end job!” But in all ­reality, I can’t imagine doing anything else. I love what I do and wouldn’t change my career path if I had to do it all over again.

What have you found to be the most valuable APTA benefit or resource—one that helps you do your job?
For me, the most significant benefit is the opportunity for peer-to-peer networking through committee work. APTA attracts the “best of the best” and provides opportunities for public transit leaders to come together, help develop the industry, and craft a vision for its future. That’s pretty exciting.

I practice what I preach. In my years with APTA, I’ve served on 30 committees, ­steering committees, planning groups, or task forces at one level or another, including two terms on the Board of Directors (one currently) and one on the board’s Executive Committee. Right now, I serve on 11 groups in various capacities, plus I’m chair of the Legislative Committee.

Please explain why or how this has helped.
This is where associations like APTA can really shine by giving people the opportunity to meet with their peers—trade experiences, ask questions, ask for and give assistance, and generally engage with people who face similar challenges and reap similar rewards.

I’ve made some of my best friends in the industry through these activities and gotten some of the best career advice.

What do you like most about your job?
My job is different every day. Right now we are in the middle of building over $50 million in capital infrastructure, which presents another layer of opportunities to enhance the broader vision of creating what our community can and will be. I am also actively involved in policy and regional planning on a local and state level. I am thankful for my incredible administrative staff whose talent and creativity allow me to expand our involvement in our community on a much larger level.

Public transportation isn’t just about getting people from Point A to Point B anymore. Public transportation is playing a greater role in building communities and strengthening their economic development. I’m blessed to have a board that supports this role of public transportation. I think it’s very important.

What is unique about your agency/business (what would readers be surprised to learn)?
MetroLINK operates three passenger ferries across the Mississippi River. We operate six or seven months and carry between 40,000 to 43,000 riders across annually.

We don’t allow cars on the ferries, but we do allow people to board with their ­bicycles. This service allows us to connect bike paths on either side of the Mississippi and help people really take advantage of the unique ­riverfront developments and hubs of activities.

The best is yet to come in public transportation. I look forward to working with my staff here on a local level, and with APTA on a national level, to take public transportation to its next level of prosperity.
  
Make sure you see Jeffrey A. Nelson's video, now that you've read this!

MEET THE APTA STAFF

Meet Kyle Bell!

Kyle Bell
Program Manager-Environment and Infrastructure
Policy Department

Q: What are the job ­elements you focus on the most (your primary responsibilities)?

A: I coordinate input into federal infrastructure and environmental regulations, especially for MAP-21 implementation rulemaking processes. I work with the APTA Policy and Planning Committee, which includes members from both public transit agencies and businesses.

I also manage APTA’s Sustainability Committee, whose members participate in the APTA Sustainability Commitment, and the APTA Sustainability and Public Transportation Workshop.

Since its launch in 2009, the Sustainability Commitment has recognized APTA members from the public and private sectors for measuring the improvement in sustainability impact through such efforts as recycling, reduction in water usage, and energy consumption. For example, our members have created green roofs on their facilities, installed solar panels, or placed alternative fuel vehicles into service. Some have LEED-certified buildings. Others have adopted environmental and sustainability management systems: implementing the measurement of energy use, water consumption, and recycling levels as an ongoing business process.

Usually, 150 to 200 people participate in the workshop. They include everyone from general managers to hands-on practitioners such as sustainability managers. This year’s workshop, July 28-30 in San Francisco, will focus on performance measurement of sustainability outcomes—what organizations have done and what difference those actions make.

I’m a facilitator for the APTA standards groups working on sustainability and state of good repair. I make sure all the logistics are covered so we can follow a plan of action.
  
Q: Do you have direct contact with APTA members? If so, please talk about recent times you’ve helped out a member.

A: I have been working with several members to prepare their recognition applications for the APTA Sustainability Commitment. This process involves measuring environmental, social, and economic metrics at the organizational level, and it also involves a peer review panel.

For those who are applying for recognition, if they request my assistance, I review their applications and let them know if I see issues they would need to address to make their application more complete. To help with this process, I developed a template for displaying sustainability indicators and project goals. This makes it easier for the peer review panel to evaluate the application. The panel is independent and has the final say in evaluating applications.
  
Q: What initiatives, projects, or programs have you worked on at APTA that you have taken particular pride in completing?

A: Since MAP-21 passed shortly after I joined APTA, it has been particularly rewarding for me to work on the rulemaking processes that tie in with its implementation. The same is true with my work on the New Starts and Small Starts process, which began shortly before passage of MAP-21.
  
Q: How did you “land” at APTA? How long have you worked here?

A: I applied for a position as I was finishing graduate school. I have a master of public administration degree from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and a master’s degree in environmental studies from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Working at APTA happened to perfectly combine my areas of interest—transportation policy and sustainability—and I was hired just as I was finishing my six months as a graduate assistant at MTA New York City Transit. I have been with APTA just over a year—14 months.
 
Q: Have you held other jobs in the public transpor­tation industry (besides working at APTA)?

A: My work as a graduate assistant in the operations planning department of MTA NYC Transit included building and calibrating a model that forecast ridership demand for planning purposes and working with large databases of MetroCard data to test the model.

Q: What professional affiliations do you have?

A: I’m a member of Young ­Professionals in Transportation.

Q: Could you tell us something about yourself that might surprise us?

A: I’m fluent in Spanish and have spent several months working in and researching public transit in Mexico. Most recently, in October 2012, I made a presentation of my research findings to a class of urban planning students at the National University in Mexico City.


Make sure you see Kyle Bell's video, now that you've read this!

APTA LEGISLATIVE CONFERENCE

Legislative Conference Brings Hundreds to Washington

Hundreds of public transit professionals have come to ­Washington, DC, to participate in educational sessions regarding the state of public transportation legislation and to hear from members of Congress as part of the 38th Annual APTA Legis­lative Conference, March 10-12 at the JW Marriott Hotel.

During the weekend, conference attendees participated in APTA committee meetings, the Sunday afternoon “Welcome to Washington” session featuring political commentators A.B. Stoddard and John Feehery, both of The Hill, and an evening reception.
  
LaHood to Speak on Monday
APTA has prepared a full schedule for Monday, March 11, beginning with “The Insider Perspective on the Transit Industry,” a breakfast session sponsored by APTA’s business members. Former Rep. Steven C. LaTourette (R-OH), president and chief executive officer of the ­Republican Main Street Partnership, will speak at this event. LaTourette was a longtime member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (T&I) and led efforts in the House last year to preserve dedicated revenues for public transportation.

FTA Administrator Peter M. ­Rogoff and FRA Administrator Joseph C. Szabo will present an “Update from U.S. DOT” at the opening general session to highlight program changes and MAP-21 initiatives. APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy and APTA Chair Flora Castillo will offer welcoming remarks. Immediately following, staff members for key authorization and appropriations committees will present their “View from the Hill” at another general session.

Following luncheon, which features a conference tradition—a performance by the musical satirical group the Capitol Steps—APTA continues with a choice of two sessions. “Funding the Future of Transportation” is a panel discussion that brings together representatives of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Associated General Contractors of America, and American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials with a legislative assistant from the office of Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), a member of the Committee on Environment and Public Works and its Subcommittee in Transportation and Infrastructure.

The second concurrent session, “Rail Policy and Legislation in the 113th Congress,” details passenger rail issues facing Congress this session, such as the Passenger Rail Infrastructure and Investment Act (PRIIA) and the Rail Safety Improvement Act (RSIA). Senior staff from the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will lead this discussion.

In his last appearance at APTA’s Legislative Conference before stepping down, DOT Secretary Ray LaHood will present the afternoon keynote speech, “What’s Ahead for Transit—New Opportunities in 2013” to conclude the day’s activities.
  
On Tuesday and Wednesday
Tuesday, March 12, begins with breakfast and comments from members of Congress including House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA), House Budget Committee ­Ranking Member Chris Van ­Hollen (D-MD), and House Highways and ­Transit Subcommittee Chairman Tom Petri (R-WI).

During the afternoon, conference participants travel to Capitol Hill to meet with their members of Congress and their staffs to advocate for continued growth in the federal investment in public transportation.

Again this year, APTA will host a Capitol Hill reception. This social event provides an opportunity for public transit professionals to meet and greet lawmakers and their staffs in a relaxed atmosphere.

Following the conference on Wednesday, March 13, APTA hosts a half-day FTA workshop on the federal capital investment program. The first half of the program presents an overview of the Final Rule on New and Small Starts, while the second half concentrates on the transit asset management provisions of MAP-21. The workshop is free for conference attendees, but participants are asked to register in advance.

Demystifying the Legislative Process

As this issue of Passenger ­Transport is reaching readers, APTA’s annual Legislative Conference is underway in Washington, DC. One focus of the conference is to encourage members of Congress to address the long-term ­solvency of the Highway Trust Fund, which finances most federal public ­transit ­programs.

APTA’s member-driven Authorization Task Force is currently developing recommendations for the reauthorization of MAP-21, enacted in July 2012 and set to expire in September 2014. The task force is led by five co-chairs: Nuria ­Fernandez, chief operating officer, New York Metro­politan Transportation Authority; Carolyn Flowers, chief executive officer, Charlotte Area Transit System; Carl ­Sedoryk, general manager/CEO, Monterey-Salinas Transit; Sharon Greene, principal, Sharon Greene and Associates; and Randall Chrisman, board member, Dallas Area Rapid Transit.

The next iteration of MAP-21 is likely to spark additional debate on the federal role in public transportation and on funding mechanisms, conversations made increasingly complicated by political gridlock and budget shortfalls.

“Now is the time to engage Congress in discussions about the need to get public transportation fully funded for the long haul,” said APTA Chair Flora Castillo, who established the task force with Jeff Nelson, general manager of MetroLINK in Moline, IL, and chair of APTA’s Legislative Committee.

“The first step in this process is to develop a network of grassroots advocates among our members—agency officials and business leaders alike—who are energized and informed about how Congress works,” Castillo said.

How do recommendations and proposals become law? This chart depicts the major steps in the legislative process. The following provides a step-by-step description.



The administration launches the legislative process for major bills such as budgets and multi-year transportation authorizations by submitting its version of the legislation to Congress, which rarely enacts the administration’s bill without making changes.

Aside from the administration’s proposals, any of the 435 members of the House or 100 Senators can begin the process by writing a bill on any subject and submitting it to the full chamber, which refers the legislation to a specific committee for consideration. Which committee will receive the legislation, though, is less obvious. (See page 12 for a list of major transportation-related committees and subcommittees in the House and the Senate.)

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee considers authorizing legislation for transportation and the Ways and Means Committee has responsibility for public transit financing, including the Highway Trust Fund and commuter benefits. The House Appropriations Committee takes care of the apportionment of funds.

While authorization sets out how much federal money is available for various public transportation programs, annual appropriation bills set aside the actual money. The appropriations bill that includes DOT also covers the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The process is even more dispersed in the Senate. The Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee covers public transit; Environment and Public Works oversees highways; Commerce is responsible for passenger and freight rail; Appropriations takes care of transportation appropriations; and Finance is responsible for the Highway Trust Fund.

Bills that cover topics under the jurisdiction of different committees can receive multiple referrals.

Members of Congress introduce a large number of bills, many of which never progress beyond a committee or subcommittee. Legislators must have a reason to move a specific bill, such as funding specific needs or solving problems. In general, the process unfolds like this:

A member of Congress introduces a bill to the full House or Senate, which assigns the bill to the appropriate committee.

The legislation receives consideration first in a subcommittee and then in the full committee. Along the way, senior committee staff plan hearings on topics related to the bill. They receive input from committee members, consult with interested organizations, and ultimately invite witnesses to testify.

While witnesses prepare their remarks and submit the written testimony before the hearing, committee members and staff develop background information to ensure that the hearing will be thorough and informative. Committee members can conduct hearings more quickly if necessary to address urgent issues in a more timely fashion.

The text of the written testimony appears on the committee’s website following the hearing. The official record also remains open for additions, supplemental information, and further written testimony from other interested stakeholders who were not part of the official witness panel.

The subcommittees incorporate information obtained during the hearings as they prepare draft legislation for the full committee. Separate bills on similar topics may make their way through the House and Senate at the same time, each with its own schedule for hearings, committee meetings, and procedural votes.

Subcommittee members “mark up” (amend) the draft bill until the majority agrees to submit the revised bill to the full committee, which then holds its own markup session. The full committee may insert entire new sections to the bill, even to the point of preparing a completely different version.

If components of the legislation fall under the jurisdiction of another committee, it goes there once it has passed the primary committee by majority vote. After the committees finish their oversight, the bill is then “reported out” to the full chamber of its respective body of Congress.

Following the full House and Senate debating, amending, and voting, a conference committee is formed to reconcile differences between the two and arrive at a mutually acceptable compromise.

Once the conference committee agrees on a final version of the bill, it is returned to each body of Congress for final passage. The full House and Senate must vote on conference bills in their entirety, exactly as presented by the conferees. When the conference bill has passed both houses, it goes to the president for signature.

However, not all of these steps are always necessary. A committee can discharge a bill without considering it at the subcommittee or full committee, and the bill can go straight to the House floor. Either the House or Senate can generally take up a piece of legislation passed out of the other body and approve it, in which case there is no need for a conference.

Making the Most of Your Visits with Elected Leaders

You don’t have to be a political insider to wield influence like one. The following tips will help you make the most of your visits with elected ­leaders, whether you’re meeting with members of Congress in Washington, DC, elected leaders in your statehouse, or city and county officials in your hometown.
  
Before You Go. Before calling on any elected leader, learn about the issues from a national or a state perspective so you can provide a larger context for your story about public transportation in your community. The more you know, the more effective you’ll be.

Think through a few anecdotes about your system and riders so you can make facts and talking points come to life. How does your system serve people who would be unable to get to work, school, or medical appointments? How does your system support local businesses? What’s your message about energy and the environment? How many jobs does your agency or business provide or support?

Understand their unique position as public servants. Elected officials must juggle competing priorities for increasingly scare public funds. Your advocacy will be more powerful when you emphasize the critical importance of public transportation to all voters, not just your riders or customers.

Make sure you’ve identified the staff person who specializes in public transportation. On Capitol Hill, the “right person” might seem junior because of his or her young age. Remember that committee staffers at all levels of ­government are well informed, exercise a great deal of influence, and serve as gatekeepers.

Plan your visit carefully by being sure of your objectives. Getting acquainted, building rapport, and conveying information are all important objectives. Not every visit will—or should—be focused on funding or regulations.

Make an appointment by working through a scheduler, explain your purpose, state the system or business you represent, and be prepared to wait a few weeks to get on the official’s calendar.
  
During Your Visit. Be focused, flexible, and punctual. Schedules change frequently and your 30-minute meeting could easily turn into a five-minute meeting, so it’s always wise to begin with your most important point. If your meeting is interrupted or cut short, be pleasant and say a speedy good-bye. They will remember your graciousness the next time you ask for a meeting.

Avoid getting drawn into a political debate, even if the official or staffer expresses a position that is contrary to your own. Simply stick to the facts, stay on message, and remain unflappable. Try to spend time with officials whose political affiliations are different from yours. By engaging in conversations with these leaders, you have the opportunity to present a different perspective that can strengthen understanding and diminish opposition.

Offer some personal anecdotes to support your points and make your request—such as sponsor a bill, sign a letter, or support a position—if that’s your goal. Make sure you’re clear about the action for which you’re advocating.

Set aside your assumptions about politics and partisanship. Public transportation typically enjoys support from both sides of the political aisle (even if it is expressed in different ways), so it’s usually safe to assume that a legislator will listen to your request. Look for common values, work to build on effective communications, and take advantage of the situation to demonstrate your expertise.

Go to the meeting prepared with concise, on-point materials to leave behind—nothing voluminous or hard to read. Think user-friendly, with charts, and graphs, and have extra copies for staff.

As the meeting winds down, leave your contact information, gather their contact information, and thank them for their time.
  
After You Leave. Thank the legis­lator and staffer formally with a follow-up note, preferably handwritten, and send information they’ve requested. A personal thank you and prompt follow-up keeps the lines of communications open and works wonders in paving the way for your next visit. And be sure to add legislators to your mailing lists for publications, press releases, email notices, and other communications vehicles your organization distributes publicly.

But the most important follow-up activity you can do is to invite your elected leaders and their key staff members to your operations. Lawmakers at all levels take notice when they visit your plants and workplaces to see for themselves the number of people public transportation employs and get a better understanding of the industry’s ­complex network of suppliers, manufacturers, and public transit systems.

Remember that each visit you make should be part of a larger strategy to inform and learn, advocate and listen, and strengthen existing alliances and forge new ones.

Good luck!

The U.S. Congress: Who’s Who; What’s What

Do your elected representatives serve on one of these important transportation committees? As the late Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill famously said, “All politics is local”—a phrase he used to describe the connection between a politician’s success and his or her capacity to advance issues that are important to local and state voters.

While federal legislation is debated and ultimately set in the halls of Congress, it can be significantly influenced in congressional districts and at the state level. Here’s a summary of key House and Senate committees and their members. (To find and contact your elected leader, go to APTA’s advocacy-related website and click on Advocate.)

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

This committee, one of the largest in Congress, has jurisdiction over all modes of transportation, including public transit and railroads.

Majority Members (Republicans)
Chairman: Bill Shuster, PA
Don Young, AK; Thomas E. Petri, WI; Howard Coble, NC; John J. Duncan Jr., TN; John L. Mica, FL; Frank A. LoBiondo, NJ; Gary G. Miller, CA; Sam Graves, MO; Shelley Moore Capito, WV; Candice S. Miller, MI; Duncan Hunter, CA; Andy Harris, MD; Eric A. “Rick” Crawford, AR; Lou Barletta, PA; Blake Farenthold, TX; Larry Bucshon, IN; Bob Gibbs, OH; Patrick Meehan, PA; Richard L. Hanna, NY; Daniel Webster, FL; Steve Southerland, II, FL; Jeff Denham, CA; Reid J. Ribble, WI; Thomas Massie, KY; Steve Daines, MT; Tom Rice, SC; Markwayne Mullin, OK; Roger Williams, TX; Trey Radel, FL; Mark Meadows, NC; Scott Perry, PA; Rodney Davis, IL

Minority Members (Democrats)
Ranking member: Nick J. Rahall II, WV
Peter A. DeFazio, OR; Eleanor Holmes Norton, DC; Jerrold Nadler, NY; Corrine Brown, FL; Eddie Bernice Johnson, TX; Elijah E. Cummings, MD; Rick Larsen, WA; Michael E. Capuano, MA; Timothy H. Bishop, NY; Michael H. Michaud, ME; Grace F. Napolitano, CA; Daniel Lipinski, IL; Timothy J. Walz, MN; Steve Cohen, TN; Albio Sires, NJ; Donna F. Edwards, MD; John Garamendi, CA; André Carson, IN; Janice Hahn, CA; Richard M. Nolan, MN; Ann Kirkpatrick, AZ; Dina Titus, NV; Sean Patrick Maloney, NY; Elizabeth H. Esty, CT; Lois Frankel, FL; Cheri Bustos, IL

T&I Subcommittee on Highways and Transit
This subcommittee’s foremost priority is the reauthorization of MAP-21, the federal surface transportation authorization bill.

Majority Members
Petri, chairman; Young, Coble, Duncan, Mica, LoBiondo, Miller, Graves, Capito, Hunter, Crawford, Barletta, Farenthold, Bucshon, Gibbs, Hanna, Southerland, Ribble, Daines, Rice, Mullin, Williams, Perry, Davis
Minority Members
DeFazio, ranking member; Nadler, Johnson, Capuano, Michaud, Napolitano, Walz, Cohen, Sires, Edwards, Carson, Hahn, Nolan, Kirkpatrick, Titus, Maloney, Esty, Frankel, Bustos

T&I Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials
Majority Members
Denham, chairman; Duncan, Mica, Miller, Graves, Capito, Miller, Barletta, Bucshon, Gibbs, Meehan, Hanna, Webster, Massie, Williams, Radel, Perry
Minority Members
Brown, ranking member; Lipinski, Nadler, Cummings, Michaud, Napolitano, Walz, Sires, Esty, DeFazio, Capuano, Cohen, Titus

Committee on Ways and Means
The committee, the oldest in Congress, is the chief tax-writing body of the House.

Majority Members
Chairman: Dave Camp, MI
Sam Johnson, TX; Kevin Brady, TX; Paul Ryan, WI; Devin Nunes, CA; Pat Tiberi, OH; Dave G. Reichert, WA; Charles W. Boustany Jr., LA; Peter J. Roskam, IL; Jim Gerlach, PA; Tom Price, GA; Vern Buchanan, FL; Adrian Smith, NE; Aaron Schock, IL; Lynn Jenkins, KS; Erik Paulsen, MN; Kenny Marchant, TX; Diane Black, TN; Tom Reed, NY; Todd Young, IN; Mike Kelly, PA; Tim Griffin, AR; Jim Renacci, OH

Minority Members
Ranking member: Sander Levin, MI
Charles B. Rangel, NY; Jim McDermott, WA; John Lewis, GA; Richard E. Neal, MA; Lloyd Doggett, TX; Xavier Becerra, CA; Mike Thompson, CA; John B. Larson, CT; Earl Blumenauer, OR; Ron Kind, WI; Bill Pascrell Jr., NJ; Joseph Crowley, NY; Allyson Schwartz, PA ; Danny Davis, IL; Linda Sánchez, CA

Committee on Appropriations
This committee is responsible for setting the specific expenditures of money by the federal government.

Majority Members
Chairman: Harold Rogers, KY
C.W. Bill Young, FL; Frank R. Wolf, VA; Jack Kingston, GA; Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, NJ; Tom Latham, IA; Robert B. Aderholt, AL; Kay Granger, TX; Michael K. Simpson, ID; John Abney Culberson, TX; Ander Crenshaw, FL; John R. Carter, TX; Rodney Alexander, LA; Ken Calvert, CA; Jo Bonner, AL; Tom Cole, OK; Mario Diaz-Balart, FL; Charles W. Dent, PA; Tom Graves, GA; Kevin Yoder, KS; Steve Womack, AR; Alan Nunnelee, MS; Jeff Fortenberry, NE; Tom Rooney, FL; Chuck Fleischmann, TN; Jaime Herrera Beutler, WA; David Joyce, OH; David Valadao, CA; Andy Harris, MD

Minority Members
Ranking member: Nita M. Lowey, NY
Marcy Kaptur, OH; Peter J. Visclosky, IN; José E. Serrano, NY; Rosa L. DeLauro, CT; James P. Moran, VA; Ed Pastor, AZ; David E. Price, NC; Lucille Roybal-Allard, CA; Sam Farr, CA; Chaka Fattah, PA; Sanford D. Bishop Jr., GA; Barbara Lee, CA; Adam B. Schiff, CA; Michael M. Honda, CA; Betty McCollum, MN; Tim Ryan, OH; Debbie Wasserman Schultz, FL; Henry Cuellar, TX; Chellie Pingree, ME; Mike Quigley, IL; Bill Owens, NY

Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
Majority Members
Latham, chairman; Wolf, Dent, Granger, Cole, Herrera Beutler, Joyce
Minority Members
Pastor, ranking member; Price, Quigley, Ryan
  
THE SENATE

Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

This committee oversees legislation that affects public transit, among other issues.

Majority Members (Democrats)

Chairman: Tim Johnson, SD
Jack Reed, RI; Charles E. Schumer, NY; Robert Menendez, NJ; Sherrod Brown, OH; Jon Tester, MT; Mark R. Warner, VA; Jeff Merkley, OR; Kay Hagan, NC; Joe Manchin, WV; Elizabeth Warren, MA; Heidi Heitkamp, ND

Minority Members (Republicans)
Ranking member: Mike Crapo, ID
Richard Shelby, AL; Bob Corker, TN; David Vitter, LA; Mike Johanns, NE; Patrick J. Toomey, PA; Mark Kirk, IL; Jerry Moran, KS; Tom Coburn, OK; Dean Heller, NV
  
Banking Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development
Majority Members
Menendez, chairman; Reed, Schumer, Brown, Tester, Merkley
Minority Members
Crapo, ranking member; Corker, Toomey, Kirk, Moran

Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
This committee oversees DOT in addition to highways, rail, and transportation security, among other issues.

Majority Members
Chairman: John D. Rockefeller IV, WV
Barbara Boxer, CA; Bill Nelson, FL; Maria Cantwell, WA; Frank R. Lautenberg, NJ; Mark Pryor, AR; Claire McCaskill, MO; Amy Klobuchar, MN; Mark Warner, VA; Mark Begich, AK; Richard Blumenthal, CT; Brian Schatz, HI; William Cowan, MA

Minority Members
Ranking member: John Thune, SD
Roger Wicker, MS; Roy Blunt, MO; Marco Rubio, FL; Kelly Ayotte, NH; Dean Heller, NV; Dan Coats, IN; Tim Scott, SC; Ted Cruz, TX; Deb Fischer, NE; Ron Johnson, WI

Committee on Appropriations
The Senate ­Appropriations Committee, the Senate’s ­largest, writes legislation that allocates federal funds to government agencies.

Majority Members
Chairwoman: Barbara A. Mikulski, MD
Patrick J. Leahy, VT; Tom Harkin, IA; Patty Murray, WA; Dianne Feinstein, CA; Richard J. Durbin, IL; Tim Johnson, SD; Mary J. Landrieu, LA; Jack Reed, RI; Frank R. Lautenberg, NJ; Mark Pryor, AR; Jon Tester, MT; Tom Udall, NM; Jeanne Shaheen, NH; Jeff Merkley, OR; Mark Begich, AK

Minority Members
Vice chairman: Richard C. Shelby, AL
Thad Cochran, MS; Mitch McConnell, KY; Lamar Alexander, TN; Susan Collins, ME; Lisa Murkowski, AK; Lindsey Graham, SC; Mark Kirk, IL; Dan Coats, IN; Roy Blunt, MO; Jerry Moran, KS; John Hoeven, ND; Mike Johanns, NE; and John Boozman, AR

Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development
Majority Members
Murray, chairman; Mikulski, Durbin, Leahy, Harkin, Feinstein, Johnson, Lautenberg, Pryor, Reed
Minority Members
Collins, ranking member; Shelby, Alexander, Graham, Kirk, Coats, Blunt, Moran, Boozman

Committee on Environment and Public Works
The committee is responsible for legislation related to transportation systems and other public infrastructure.

Majority Members
Chairman: Barbara Boxer, CA
Max Baucus, MT; Thomas R. Carper, DE; Frank R. Lautenberg, NJ; Benjamin L. Cardin, MD; Bernard Sanders, VT; Sheldon Whitehouse, RI; Tom Udall, NM; Jeff Merkley, OR; Kirsten Gillibrand, NY

Minority Members
Vice chairman: David Vitter, LA
James M. Inhofe, OK; John Barrasso, WY; Jeff Sessions, AL; Mike Crapo, ID; Roger F. Wicker, MS; John Boozman, AR; Deb Fischer, NE

Committee on Finance
The committee is responsible for taxation and other general revenue measures.

Majority Members
Chairman: Max Baucus, MT
John D. Rockefeller IV, WV; Ron Wyden, OR; Charles E. Schumer, NY; Debbie Stabenow, MI; Maria Cantwell, WA; Bill Nelson, FL; Robert Menendez, NJ; Thomas R. Carper, DE; Benjamin L. Cardin, MD; Sherrod Brown, OH; Michael F. Bennet, CO; Robert P. Casey Jr., PA

Minority Members
Ranking member: Orrin G. Hatch, UT
Chuck Grassley, IA; Mike Crapo, ID; Pat Roberts, KS; Michael B. Enzi, WY; John Cornyn, TX; John Thune, SD; Richard Burr, NC; Johnny Isakson, GA; Rob Portman, OH; Patrick J. Toomey, PA

From the Grassroots Up

As the White House and Congress debate the future of federal public transportation funding, policy, and programs, hundreds of cities, towns, and neighborhoods throughout the country are creating local coalitions to advocate for public transit at the grassroots level with the backing of the National Alliance of Public Transportation Advocates (NAPTA), a national membership organization supported by APTA.

With a base of more than 5,000 registered members, NAPTA currently represents approximately 130 coalitions in 37 states, plus the District of Columbia. Membership is free and open to all transit-based coalitions, riders, advocates, and individuals (NAPTA members are not required to be members of APTA). The organization’s objectives are to:

* create a diverse, committed, and visible national alliance of local public transit coalitions;
* generate a heightened level of advocacy through constituent visits, calls, e-mails, and letters at appropriate times in the congressional decision-making process; and
* link local transit coalitions with new advocacy tools and resources.

In addition to public transit agencies, local and regional coalitions are composed of such diverse organizations as schools and universities, religious institutions, community developers, urban planners, architects, environmental groups, chambers of commerce, state associations, rider advocates, service clubs, and interested individuals.

Membership benefits include access to articles, reports, and studies about the public transit industry; regular monthly communications, legislative updates, and alerts; and two in-person meetings per year.

In addition, NAPTA staff can provide support and resources to local organizations to launch or strengthen public-transit based coalitions. The advantages of establishing formal coalitions include:

* providing active, dedicated leadership and clarifying roles and shared responsibilities among coalition members;
* designing and conducting activities that involve a broad range of constituents;
* educating target audiences and the general public about public transportation’s value, services, and funding needs;
* sharing and coordinating local resources such as experts, information, and funding; and
* creating new relationships and alliances to strengthen the coalition.

For more information, including how to join, contact Nicole DuPuis.

A Quick Guide to MAP-21

APTA has developed several resources to help its members better understand the key provisions of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century legislation (MAP-21), which authorizes funding for federal transit and highway programs through September 2014.

MAP-21 includes many of APTA’s recommendations, which were developed by the association’s Authorization Task Force.

APTA’s resources are consolidated online, under an easy-to-access link on the association’s home page. Click here to find these resources:

* MAP-21: A Guide to Transit-Related Provisions, a PDF of a 34-page booklet, summarizes the legislation’s significant provisions and features informative charts and tables.

* MAP-21 Webinar with Senate and House Staff provides an opportunity to hear from the key congressional committee staff who wrote the transit provisions of the new law. These experts, along with APTA’s government affairs staff, explain the details of the law and answer questions.

* Links to several APTA and federal documents, including those that explain legislation, funding tables, FTA apportionments, and DOT implementation resources as well as previous surface transportation authorization bills.

APTA’s Authorization Task Force is currently developing recommendations for the next authorization process.

Copies of the booklet are available by contacting APTA at (202) 496-4800 or by downloading a PDF at the link above.

AROUND THE INDUSTRY

VMS Is First Business Member to Earn APTA Sustainability Gold

APTA has awarded Gold-level recognition to Visual Marketing Systems, Inc. (VMS), for its achievements related to the association’s Sustainability Commitment, a voluntary agreement to implement practices that prioritize protecting the environment, maintaining economic viability, and being socially responsible.

VMS is the only APTA business member to receive this level of recognition to date.

“Congratulations to Visual Marking Systems for achieving this high honor and for setting the standard for other businesses,” said APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy. “APTA is honored to recognize VMS for its successful efforts to balance initiatives of environmental and economic sustainability. Both values strengthen public transportation.”

Dolf Kahle, VMS chief executive officer, said, “The public transportation industry is a huge print buying community, and VMS’ participation in the APTA Sustainability program and its achievement of Gold level recognition is evidence that VMS is committed as a supplier to APTA’s 2010-2014 Strategic Goals to reduce the transit industry’s environmental impact.”

APTA recognized VMS in part because of the sustainable business practices it models as a business member. From 2010 to 2011, VMS achieved a 15 percent reduction in electricity use per line item produced, a 15 percent reduction in water use per line item, a 4 percent reduction in solid waste per line item, and a 9 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions per line item, due largely to its focus on green production and procurement policies as a certified sustainable green printer. VMS also launched a recycling policy that saved the company nearly $75,000 in 2011 thanks to a new focus on reducing use of raw materials.

VMS signed on to APTA’s sustainability commitment in 2011. The company provides custom graphic design services and products for Original Equipment Manufacturers, supply-chain companies, and public transportation systems.

About APTA’s Sustainability Commitment Program
The APTA Sustainability Commitment is a voluntary agreement to place priority on preserving the environment, being socially responsible, and maintaining economic viability with an overall ­contribution to quality of life.

APTA members that participate in the voluntary program agree to implement core internal processes and actions that set the basis for continuous improvement on key environmental, social, and economic sustainability indicators.

All APTA members, whether from the public or private sectors, are eligible to sign the Sustainability Commitment. Signatories can obtain higher recognition levels of the commitment by achieving additional actions, putting long-term processes into place and attaining reduction targets for a series of set indicators.

For more information, click here.

Houston Metro Reopens Bridge Closed for Light Rail Construction

Houston's Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (Metro) marked the reopening of the Main Street Bridge over Buffalo Bayou on Feb. 25—one month ahead of schedule. The bridge had been closed since August 2011 to allow expansion-related construction of Metro’s North (Red) light rail line. Both light rail and cars will operate on the reopened span.

“This bridge has a lot of significance. I don’t know if everybody knows it’s almost 100 years old. It’s pretty remarkable,” said Metro Board Chairman Gilbert Garcia. “We know the emotional significance it has, the historical significance. We all work together to make sure that as we expand the lines that we preserve and protect these very important buildings, the history and arts related to the lines.”

Tom Lambert, the system’s interim president and CEO, noted that the METRORail extension is about 70 ­percent complete and that test trains will begin operating on the line in the summer. The North Line will extend the existing Red Line by more than five miles, and will be the first of three expansion lines to enter service when it opens in 2014.

He added: “We are working with schools along the corridors to make sure that safety, Metro’s priority, is maintained and focused on, not only in the schools, but in the communities.”

Garcia and Lambert also recognized its partnership with the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) in moving the project along.

UHD President Dr. William Flores called the bridge “a metaphor as well as a real bridge. It’s connecting communities that have not had access that now will have that access. But also, it’s going to connect businesses that will thrive, residents that will be able to take the train anywhere into the city. This bridge, as it opens, as it reconnects—transforms.”

Representatives of Houston Metro commemorate the reopening of the Main Street Bridge—one month ahead of schedule—after the completion of work on a light rail extension.


 

Cleveland RTA, NASA Partner on Hydrogen-Fueled Bus Project

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Glenn Research Center in Cleveland have formed a partnership to operate a hydrogen-fueled bus to demonstrate the safety, fuel efficiency, economy, and reliability of hydrogen production and fueling.

The hydrogen bus, which began carrying riders earlier this year, has a capacity of 57 passengers and will be in service between six and eight hours a day on various routes. RTA is the first public transit system in Ohio—and one of the few in the nation—to produce its own hydrogen fuel using electrolysis, a process that separates water into hydrogen and oxygen. The demonstration bus operates with nearly twice the fuel efficiency as a diesel-fueled bus.

RTA also worked with Sierra Lobo, a NASA Glenn contractor, to install a hydrogen fueling station at one of its facilities that already had fueling equipment for compressed natural gas (CNG), including 50 sensors to monitor the tanks.

The electrolysis unit takes in city water, purifies it via an internal de-ionizing process, and uses electricity to split the water into hydrogen and oxygen gases. The generated hydrogen is then stored in tanks ready for use. The dispenser operates like a typical gas pump. The bus is driven up alongside the dispenser, a nozzle securely connects to the bus using a pressure-sealed flange, and the bus’s fuel tank is filled with hydrogen.

The bus is on loan from United Technologies Corporation (UTC Power) and the electrolyzer is on loan from NASA Glenn. The program, including the bus and fueling system, is valued at $3 million. The RTA board approved the agency’s $50,000 investment in this project, which pays for the installation and use of fueling equipment.

The RTA’s hydrogen-fueled bus debuted to great fanfare and large crowds during a media event that drew widespread attention despite the 9 degree temperatures and bitter wind chill.

 

LYNX Breaks Ground in Kissimmee

The Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority (LYNX) in Orlando, FL, recently joined Osceola County and the city of Kissimmee to break ground for a new multimodal ­public transit center in Kissimmee.

The new facility, located next to the historic Amtrak Station, will become the hub for all public transit services in Osceola County when it opens later this year. During peak service times, at least 17 LYNX buses per hour will provide service to the eight-bay transfer center.

Additional amenities will include closed-caption television capabilities, solar lighting on 14 bus shelters, and drought-tolerant plants.

 

A schematic drawing of the future LYNX Multimodal Center in Kissimmee, FL, displayed at ground-breaking ceremonies for the facility.


 

Midwest Industry to Benefit from High-Speed Rail

Hundreds of manufacturers in the industrial Midwest and beyond are equipped to produce the components and materials needed to usher in high-speed rail emanating from Chicago’s transportation hub, according to Midwest High-Speed Rail Supply Chain, a report released this month by the Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC), an environmental policy group.

The report suggests that long-term federal and state government investment would spark a manufacturing renaissance among 12 Original Equipment Manufacturers and hundreds of supply-chain companies, many of which are APTA business members. Some 460 manufacturers in seven Midwest states would gain new business, the report says.

“Manufacturers across the heartland stand ready to build a 21st-century transportation system for America,” the report noted. “By investing in high-speed rail, we can revitalize manufacturing, increase mobility, create jobs, and reduce pollution.”

Specifically, the study profiles or lists 122 supply-chain companies in Ohio, 99 in Indiana, 49 in Michigan, 84 in ­Illinois, 73 in Wisconsin, 26 in ­Minnesota, and seven in Iowa.
  
Midwest Regional Rail Network
The report also provides an update of the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative, a decade-long collaboration among nine Midwestern state DOTs that recommends a 3,000-mile hub-and-spoke system of trains radiating from Chicago to serve large and mid-size cities within a 400-mile radius.

“Construction is already underway,” the report noted. “The Midwest is now home to the first high-speed rail service outside the Northeast. In February 2012, Amtrak began 110 mph revenue service on 97 miles of the Chicago-Detroit corridor owned by Amtrak. The speed increase was enabled by the installation of a positive train control system and track improvements between Porter, IN, and ­Kalamazoo, MI. The federal government is investing over $600 million for new infrastructure and signaling along the corridor.”

The new network will allow more trains to run more frequently and reduce travel times between major cities by 30 to 50 percent. In addition, multimodal stations will improve connectivity to public transit, road, and bicycle traffic. By 2025, the network is expected to attract 13.6 million passengers a year.

The report also stated that work is underway on track and safety improvements to the corridor from Chicago to St. Louis. By the end of next year, the line is expected to operate at a sustained speed of 110 miles per hour for 75 percent of its route.

Officials have purchased new trains to operate between Chicago and ­Milwaukee, and construction is scheduled to start soon on improved passenger rail service between Chicago and the Quad Cities (a group of five cities straddling the ­Mississippi River on the Iowa-Illinois boundary), with a potential extension to Iowa City, Des Moines, and Omaha.

The full report is available here.

Operation Lifesaver, FTA Offer Rail Transit Safety Grants

Operation Lifesaver Inc. (OLI) has entered into a partnership with FTA to provide grant funds to public transit agencies and other government entities for rail transit safety education and public awareness initiatives. Grant amounts range from $20,000-$25,000 and require a 25 percent match, either as in-kind services or non-federal cash.

“Passenger rail and transit are experiencing ridership growth,” said Joyce Rose, president and chief executive officer of Operation Lifesaver. “These FTA-funded grant projects help our state programs work with local transit agencies and government organizations to make a difference in rail safety in their communities.”

FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff said: “As rail transit expands in communities across the country, it is essential that drivers and pedestrians have the education they need to remain safe near trains, tracks, and at crossings.”

To be eligible, projects must focus on safety education or public awareness initiatives in communities with rail transit systems (commuter rail, light rail, and streetcar). OLI-approved materials and OLI logos must be used, and all grants must be coordinated through state Operation Lifesaver programs. The deadline for grant proposals is June 30.

Examples of previously funded grants include New Jersey Transit Corporation’s outreach to schools to raise teen driver awareness about safe driving around light rail trains or buses, a safety campaign in the Atlanta area targeting distracted drivers with bus tail light displays and posters on Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority trains, and a community safety blitz by Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority in Austin, TX, in advance of new commuter rail service.

The grant announcement is available here. Information is available from Cathy Gillen.

APTA NEWS

Calling the ‘Best of the Best’ to Apply for APTA’s Annual Awards

APTA invites agency and business members to nominate top individuals and organizations for its annual awards programs, which recognize excellence in the public transportation industry in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The deadline for nominations is close of business (Eastern), Friday, April 5.

All nomination packets must include the following:

* A completed nominations form;
* supporting materials specific to each award, no longer than six pages; printed legibly no smaller than 12 point; featuring a description of how each nominee demonstrates APTA’s core values of leadership, integrity, excellence, diversity, inclusiveness, fairness and equity, teamwork, professionalism, and accountability; and including detailed statistics and examples to support the nominee’s achievements; and
* up to three additional attachments such as news articles and letters of recommendations (optional).

Email nomination packets to Erin Cartwright.

APTA cannot accept nomination packets by fax.

All winners will be required to submit additional materials, including a one-minute video for a film that will be featured during the awards ceremony at the 2013 APTA Annual Meeting, Sept. 29-Oct. 2, in Chicago.

Find additional details online, then click on the “In the ­Spotlight” graphic promoting the 2013 APTA Awards.

Rail Conference Keynotes Set

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell will present the keynote address at APTA’s Rail Conference, June 2 to 5, in Philadelphia.

Rendell’s remarks will anchor the opening general session on June 3, which will focus on “Public Transportation: It’s All About the People,” APTA Chair Flora Castillo’s focus during her tenure.

Other confirmed speakers include FRA Administrator Joseph C. Szabo and chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, Deborah Hersman.

Rendell, a longtime ­public transpor­tation ­advocate, is one of three co-chairs of Building ­America’s Future, a bipartisan coalition of elected officials who support increased investments in infrastructure as a way to strengthen the country’s economy. (The other two co-chairs are former California Gov. Arnold ­Schwarzenegger and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.)

The conference will feature more than 60 sessions, including the first-ever Rail Safety Excellence Awards luncheon on Tuesday, June 4, to recognize exemplary achievement in safety management. The luncheon keynote speaker is Rina Cutler, board member of the conference host agency Southeastern ­Pennsylvania Authority (SEPTA), and ­Philadelphia deputy mayor for transportation and utilities.

In addition, the technical conference includes six tracks, including a new one for mid-level managers, and the launch of APTA’s Early Career Program, a year-long program that provides young ­public transportation professionals with the skills, knowledge, insights, and networks they need to succeed and advance in the industry. The program concludes at APTA’s May 2014 Bus and Paratransit Conference.

The International Rail Rodeo competition, scheduled for June 1, is a highly popular event for operator and maintainer teams to showcase their skills and knowledge using SEPTA’s rail equipment.

For details and to register, click here.

 

 

 

Rendell 

Szabo 

Hersman 

May Bus Conference Features Hurricane Sandy Panel: New Sessions, Indy 500 Champ, Roadeo Contest

The 2013 APTA Bus & Paratransit Conference, set for May 5-8 in Indianapolis, features a special conversation on ­Hurricane Sandy led by a panel of public transit executives of agencies that were hardest hit by the devastating superstorm.

Leading the panel discussion—­Hurricane Sandy: Managing the Disaster, Managing Resilience—are Joseph M. Casey, general manager, Southeastern ­Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), ­Philadelphia, and member, APTA board; Darryl Irick, president, MTA Bus Company, New York City; and James ­Weinstein, executive director, New ­Jersey Transit Corp., Newark, and member, APTA board.

Joining the public transit executives for the opening general session is Paul J. Ricciuti, director of the Recovery Division, Region V, Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Moderating the discussion is Michael A. Terry, president and chief executive officer, ­Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation (IndyGo), conference host.

The panelists will discuss their emergency preparedness plans, how service was affected in the aftermath of the storm, and how replacements and repairs were funded. This special conversation will also honor the hard work of the employees of the affected systems, in keeping with APTA Chair Flora ­Castillo’s year-long theme, ­“Public Transportation: It’s All About the People.”

The conference also features Maintenance Monday, a first-ever session dedicated to bus maintenance and ­technologies specifically for maintenance managers and related professionals.

Maintenance Monday kicks off with interactive discussions at IndyGo. Other special sessions include networking opportunities, an up-close look at the latest buses at the annual Bus Display, and technical presentations from APTA business members. Maintenance Monday is free to all Bus & Paratransit Conference registrants, but attendees must register in advance.

Dario Franchitti, four-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner, is the conference closing session speaker on Wednesday, May 8. His presentation will focus on the dedication, team building, performance, and excellence involved in the sport of motor racing—and lessons for public transit professionals.

The conference also features the Mid-Level Managers Magnification Program, sessions specifically designed to advance the skills of professionals at this level, as part of APTA’s commitment to workforce development for early career professionals and mid-level managers.

The overall conference includes more than 30 sessions, special events, tours, a bus display, and exhibitor showcases.

The International Bus Roadeo competition, scheduled for May 5, is a highly popular event for bus operators and mechanics to showcase their driving and maintenance skills.

For additional details and to register, click here.

Last Call: Nominate Projects, Initiatives for APTA’s Bus and Rail Safety & Security Excellence Awards

BY MICHAEL SMITH, APTA Senior Specialist, Safety & Security

APTA members are encouraged to nominate their safety and security projects for APTA’s Safety & Security Excellence Awards program, newly expanded to include rail as well as bus transportation. The deadline for submissions is March 15th.

APTA has long recognized safety excellence in bus transportation. Now, rail systems—commuter rail, rail transit, light rail and streetcar—can also submit nominations that describe their innovative and successful initiatives or projects and be evaluated by the same criteria as the bus program. Public transit systems that operate both bus and rail services are encouraged to nominate two or more different projects.

Award recipients in each category will be formally recognized at their respective APTA conference—the Bus & Paratransit Conference, May 5-8 in Indianapolis, or the Rail Conference, June 2-5 in Philadelphia. Shortly following each conference, APTA will compile the award-winning programs and make them available to all members as a benchmarking resource.

For details and a nominations form, click here or here.

LA’s Metrolink Employee Wins Call Center Challenge

Lauren Whetsel, an employee of Metrolink, Southern ­California Regional Rail Authority, Los Angeles, won the sixth annual 2013 Call Center Challenge, an event held during APTA’s Marketing and Communications Workshop in February.

Whetsel was one of seven finalists who competed before a live audience and who were judged on their ability to resolve various customer service scenarios in a friendly and professional manner.

“Americans expect professional care as they take more than 10 billion trips each year on public transit, and call center representatives are often an unsung component of that care,” said APTA President & CEO Michael ­Melaniphy. “Lauren Whetsel shows that no matter the request, comment, or complaint, our call center staffers are extraordinary. Congratulations to her and Metrolink.”

The annual APTA Call Center Challenge highlights the importance of customer service in public transportation call centers and recognizes individuals who excel in providing top customer service. The competition is open to public transportation call center personnel affiliated with an APTA member.

“We are very proud of Lauren and all of our call center representatives for their diligent and exemplary work,” said Michael P. DePallo, Metrolink chief executive officer. “Customer service is paramount at Metrolink and this honor presented by APTA showcases the quality of our staff and the level of expertise our riders receive.”

 

The best public transit call center professionals faced off in APTA’s annual Call Center Challenge, held in conjunction with the Marketing and Communications Workshop in February. Top honors went to Lauren Whetsel, center, Metrolink, Southern California Regional Rail Authority, Los Angeles. The other finalists were, from left Mark Perales, Fort Worth Transportation Authority; Stacey Pringle, MTA Metro-North Railroad, New York City; Sierra Muhammad, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Boston; Jessica Lanier, Charlotte Area Transit System, Charlotte, NC; Patrick Duffy, Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority; and James Anderson, MetroLinx (GO Transit), Toronto, ON.

 

CASE STUDY

The Changing Face of Time: Bringing Analog Clocks Back

BY KATHERINE LEWIS, Special to Passenger Transport

Ian Macartney is a man on a mission. The president and founder of Lumichron, a clockmaker since 1984, wants to bring analog clocks back to public transit stations and platforms across the country.

The Grand Rapids, MI-based company is an authorized U.S. distributor for Mobatime, a Swiss company that makes synchronized time systems for public spaces and large buildings, and also makes its own stand-alone façade and tower clocks.

The minimalist Mobatime clock face is instantly recognizable: no numbers, clean hashmarks for the minutes, and a red second hand with a distinctive red dot. The aesthetic is so appealing that the design aficionados at Apple adopted the look for the iPhone 5 and iPad mini.

But even more than the clocks themselves, Macartney wants to restore the notion of public time to bus and rail stations where people now rush back and forth to their destinations, plugged into their iPods and smart phones but isolated from each other.

“Everyone has their cell phones and on every terminal display there’s the time, but it’s all digital. If you look at an analog clock, you can tell in a nanosecond how much time you have left. That’s the beauty of it,” Macartney said. “You don’t have to do the math. It’s an instant graphical representation of how much time’s left. We’re trying to get this concept of nice round clocks in airports and train stations.”

Analogs and Architecture
Macartney is finding some interested buyers for the old-fashioned analog clock. The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) in Oakland, CA, installed a large clock from Lumichron on the elevator tower of its Pleasant Hill Station, located in Contra Costa County in the East Bay of San Francisco.

The idea of a clock came up over and over in community meetings, with neighbors favoring it, said Merideth Marschak, principal with Noll & Tam Architects, the firm that worked with BART on the Pleasant Hill redesign.

“That is my station, so as I’m running to the train, it lets me know whether to start running or slow down,” said Joe Lipkos, principal architect for BART. “To me, I like that old type of appearance. For most people, you read an analog clock much quicker. You comprehend it much quicker than looking at the digital numbers.”

But as important as the design sensibilities might be, it’s equally important that all clocks in the system must be linked—synchronized—so they all show the same time throughout the system.

In Europe and Asia, it’s commonplace to find a distributed time system: a series of platform clocks all integrated into one master clock. “In Switzerland, there’s a clock every 100 feet, maybe a half dozen going down a platform,” Macartney said.

“The passengers and the drivers all need to be working on exactly the same expectations. It’s important that all the clocks within a terminal be synchronized,” said David L. Phillips, senior transportation planner with TranSystems Corporation in Chicago, which is designing the Danville, IL, Transfer Center.“The thing that’s best about them is that they’re very precise. The minute hand jumps only when the second hand hits the 12. There’s no ambiguity.”

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) also is considering a distributed time system as part of its multi-station revamp project. Analog clocks may be part of MARTA’s remodel upgrade of its communication systems and displays. “They like the look of it. It simply looks good and it’s quick to understand,” Macartney said.
  
Branding, Precision, Aesthetics
Analog clocks offer a potential for branding that digital clocks can’t, because a public transit agency can place its logo in the center of the dial without obscuring the time.

“You can put the MARTA logo on the dial, for example, so it’s a brand reinforcement,” Macartney said. “It’s how much time you have left, at a glance. It’s so quick and easy. It’s just fast. For some reason, it has a high degree of comfort.”

T.R. Hickey, senior rail and transit planning manager in the Philadelphia office of the engineering firm CH2M Hill, said he thinks digital clocks provide a false sense of security. Moreover, he likes the Mobatime clocks because of their connection to the Swiss railway, which has a long association with precision.

“In Europe, you’ll see a consistent analog clock face throughout the network. It gives the customer the sense, as they go from station to station, that there’s a consistency to the reliability of the system and a recognition of the importance of time,” Hickey said. “In public transportation, there’s an assurance that comes with reliability, and that distills down to the value of time. It’s an important sales tool for public agencies and transit operators.”

Ten years ago—when Hickey was general manager at the Port Authority Transit Corporation (PATCO), operator of the Speedline between Lindenwold, NJ, and Philadelphia—he specified a remote controlled analog clock in a station rehabilitation that encompassed 10 stations, with about three clocks per station. At the time, he said, it was challenging to find a synchronized clock system that could be remotely set and updated for the high-speed train line, he said. Lumichron’s offering is what PATCO was looking for, being tied to the national time standard broadcast from Fort Collins, CO.

“It appalls me to go to any station where there’s no clock. Passengers want to know what time is it: ‘Should I be running or can I take a casual stroll?’” he said. “That’s the assurance we should be providing our customers throughout the station experience. . . . It’s one of those many subtle messages to get our customers to trust us.”

The analog look also fit the 1960s-era aesthetic of the rail stations. “They already had that retro Mad Men look that everybody is embracing now,” Hickey said.
  
Time and Money
One of the biggest challenges Macartney faces is the long planning time frame for public transit facility construction. Architects who today are specifying plans for new stations or administration buildings might not see the final results for years or even a decade.

“It’s a very long outlook. It’s measured in years, which is a little daunting, but if you don’t plant the seed now, four to five years from now you won’t have anything to show for it,” he says. “The Swiss are patient, so we’re planting these seeds.”

Looking at the stand-alone clocks, a three-foot clock, fully built with a master clock, might cost $3,600; a six-foot clock might cost $8,000. Lumichron builds all clocks to order, and standard delivery on a big clock is eight weeks.

It’s harder to calculate the expense of a distributed time system with integrated platform and building clocks because the cost depends on so many factors, including the size of the complex and the number of clocks. One double-faced illuminated clock that is two feet in diameter—such as would appear on a platform—might cost $3,000. Smaller, non-illuminated wall clocks that are part of a system might cost about $300 each. “The costs can be all over the board,” he said.

Macartney has traveled all over the U.S. to public transit conferences, including APTA’s 2012 Rail Conference, to talk with system officials about their needs and to explain the opportunity that analog clocks can provide.

“My belief is that you have to see [the opportunity]. When people see it and the availability is there, then they’re more apt to design with it,” he said.
  
A Global Perspective
Macartney said his journey to bring analog clocks to the U.S. began with a training trip to Switzerland to visit Mobatime, which had been supplying Lumichron with clock parts for years.

“In my mind, there’s simply nothing finer than the Swiss clock system. If you’re going to buy a clock system, where else can you get that inherent brand quality?” he asked. “It was completely exhilarating to go to the center of time presentation, where it’s made. In this little factory, they’re making the most advanced time systems in the world. It’s really neat that there are humans behind it and a craft.”

While in Switzerland, Macartney rode on a cable car system that exemplified the difference between U.S. and European design sensibilities. “The gear house: in this country, that would be underground and buried. [In Switzerland,] they encase it in glass and paint everything nice so you can see the works,” he said. “You really feel that they’re very proud of the mechanics and the achievement of what they’re doing.”

As evidence of the appeal of analog clocks for public transit, Macartney recalled a conversation at the APTA conference with the team that builds Japan’s high-speed rail system. “Inside the driver’s cab, there’s a digital display and there’s an analog clock right beside it,” he said. “The most advanced train system in the planet, and the guy at the front of the train uses—and it’s mandatory to have—a round clock display.”

In retrospect, he said, it’s difficult to trace the elimination of analog clocks and a public timepiece from public spaces and, specifically, public transit locations. “I don’t know why there was a trend to move away from clock systems in transit,” he said.

Macartney plans to continue meeting with architects, planners, public transit officials, and others sympathetic to his passion for returning analog clocks—and public time—to stations, platforms, and buildings.

“There’s something that feels right about a clock as an accouterment to your design environment,” he said. “I have not met anyone who doesn’t like a round clock on a building. Everyone likes a round clock.”
  
Katherine Lewis is a Maryland-based freelance writer who specializes in public transportation, among other issues.

 

Analog clocks need not be minimalist in design. Artist Donald Lipski designed “Time Piece,” with three functioning clocks counterbalanced within a stainless steel arch, for Los Angeles Metro’s El Monte Station.


 

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

Who's Doing What in the Industry

William P. McGarrigel
CHERRY HILL, NJ—William P. McGarrigel, P.E., has been promoted by Urban Engineers Inc. to regional manager for Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey. He will also continue as vice president and office manager of the firm’s Cherry Hill office.

McGarrigel has more than 20 years of professional engineering experience in transportation project management, design, and planning. He joined Urban in 1995.
  
J. Thomas Hodges
CINCINNATI, OH—The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) honored J. Thomas Hodges with its Royal Coachman Award, given to recognize an individual’s commitment to the development and betterment of public transportation.

Hodges, an attorney, has served on the SORTA Board of Trustees since March 2010 and chaired the board from May-November 2012. He also was a board member of the Everybody Rides Metro Foundation.
  
Kimberly Fragola
STATE COLLEGE, PA—The Centre Area Transportation Authority (CATA) announced the promotion of Kimberly Fragola to director of administration.

Fragola came to CATA in 2010 and has since served as its assistant director of administration. Earlier she worked for Patton Township and Centre County.


  
Peter J. (Jack) Basso, Bridget Wieghart, Tony Mendoza, Charles Maass
NEW YORK, NY—Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) has announced the following appointments.

Peter J. (Jack) Basso, a nationally recognized expert on transportation finance and policy, has been named a senior advisor in PB’s strategic consulting group, based in Washington, DC. Most recently, Basso oversaw the management of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials as chief operating officer and business development director. He also was DOT assistant secretary for budget and programs and the department’s chief financial officer.

Bridget Wieghart has been named a senior supervising planner in the Portland, OR, office of PB. She has 27 years of experience, working most recently with Metro, the Portland-area metropolitan planning organization.

Tony Mendoza, another senior supervising planner, will be based in the Los Angeles office. He joins PB after serving as manager of transit analysis at Metro in Portland and, earlier management of service development at Portland’s Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon.

Charles Maass joined the New York office of PB as a senior supervising construction engineer. He worked 20 years with New York State DOT.

  
Terry Marcellus
SACRAMENTO, CA—Parsons Brinckerhoff has named Terry Marcellus a senior commercial specialist in its Sacramento office. He will be responsible for managing the delivery of design-build construction packages for the initial segment of the California High-Speed Rail Project.

He has more than 18 years experience in program management of major transit projects, including service as contract manager on multi-billion-dollar programs of the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority and the Los Angeles Community College District.
  
Valarie J. McCall
CLEVELAND, OH—Valarie J. McCall, a member of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority Board of Trustees, has been elected president of the Governing Board of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA). She is the first African-American woman to serve in this post.

McCall is chief of government affairs for the City of Cleveland and an at-large member of the APTA Board of Directors. She has served on NOACA’s Governing Board as the alternate for Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson since 2006.

Suzanne Burke, Karl Schultz
CINCINNATI, OH—The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) has elected Suzanne Burke its board chair for 2013. Karl Schultz was elected vice chair.

Burke is chief executive officer of the Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio. She joined the SORTA board in 2011.

Schultz, a board member since 2010, serves on the Miami Township, Clermont County, Board of Trustees and the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Planning Authority Board of Directors.
  
Dave Roberts, Bob Campbell
SAN DIEGO, CA—Dave Roberts, vice chair of the Full Access and Coordinated Transportation Inc. (FACT) board in Oceanside, CA, joined the five-member San Diego County Board of Supervisors in January. He is the first new supervisor in San Diego County in nearly 20 years.

Roberts has been a member of the FACT board since 2006 and was its chair in 2012. He served two terms as Solana Beach council member and was the city’s deputy mayor.

The FACT board elected Vice Chair Bob Campbell its chair for 2013. He is a former Vista City Council member.

Greg Winterbottom, Shawn Nelson
ORANGE, CA—The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors has named Greg Winterbottom its new chairman, succeeding Paul Glaab. Winterbottom previously served as chairman in 2004 and most recently was vice chairman.

He has more than 25 years of experience in transportation and has been one of two public members of the OCTA board since 1993.

The new vice chairman is Shawn Nelson, a member of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, who joined the OCTA board in 2010. Nelson served as the mayor of Fullerton in 2004-2005 and 2006-2007.
  
Gina Trombley
PASADENA, CA—Gina Trombley has joined Parsons as a senior vice president of mining and international rail infrastructure.

Trombley has more than 14 years of experience in the railroad, marine, and mining industries. Before coming to Parsons, she worked for GE Transportation in various operational and commercial positions, most recently as the commercial leader for its locomotive service business. She also served six years in the U.S. Army as an intelligence officer.
  
Dolores Buckenberger, Andy Nicol
KANSAS CITY, MO—TranSystems has promoted Dolores Buckenberger to the position of vice president, based in New York City. She joined the firm in 2002 and is a leader in its highway and bridge practice.

Also, Andy Nicol, a TranSystems employee since 2008, has been promoted to assistant vice president, based in Orlando, FL. He works on the company’s transit and planning team. For APTA, he serves on the Commuter Rail Committee and Marketing and Communications Committee.
  
John Andrews
WINNIPEG, MB—John Andrews has joined New Flyer Industries Inc. as regional sales manager for the eastern U.S. region, based in Orlando, FL.

Andrews has extensive industry experience, including 30 years with Motor Coach Industries (MCI), developing the company’s public transit sector. Following his retirement from MCI, he was vice president of sales for GFI Genfare.

He is a past chair of the American Public Transportation Foundation and a current member of numerous APTA committees.
  
Michael C. May, Francis C. Jones, Robert Thomas, Matthew Kelly, John D. Jenkins, Jonathan L. Way, Gary F. Skinner
WOODBRIDGE, VA—The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC) has named Michael C. May, a member of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, its chairman for 2013.

Other new officers are Francis C. Jones, mayor of Manassas Park, vice chairman; Robert Thomas, a member of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors, secretary; Matthew Kelly, a member of the Fredericksburg City Council; treasurer; and John D. Jenkins, a member of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, immediate past chairman.

Jonathan L. Way, a member of the Manassas City Council, and Gary F. Skinner, a member of the Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors, joined the PRTC board as at-large members.
  
Gary Hansen, Clint Hooppaw, Jane Victorey
BURNSVILLE, MN—Gary Hansen, a member of the Eagle City Council, was re-elected chair of the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority Board of Directors for 2013.

Apple Valley Councilmember Clint Hooppaw was elected vice chair and Savage City Councilmember Jane Victorey was re-elected secretary/treasurer.
  
Kevin Dawson
ST-EUSTACHE, QC—Nova Bus announced the appointment of Kevin Dawson as regional sales manager to serve the northeastern U.S.

Dawson comes to Nova Bus after serving as acting vice president of sales for North America for another major motorcoach manufacturer. He has more than 12 years of experience in the transit industry, including sales, customer support, and aftermarket.


  
Robbie Makinen, Steve Klika, A.J. Dusek, Michael Short
KANSAS CITY, MO—The Board of Commissioners of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority has elected officers for 2013, re-electing Jackson County, MO, Commissioner Robbie Makinen as chairman. Makinen is economic development coordinator for Jackson County and a board member since 2007.

Steve Klika, commissioner representing Johnson County, KS, will serve as vice chairman; A.J. Dusek, Wyandotte County, KS, secretary; and Michael Short, Platte County, MO, treasurer.

Brian W. King, Christopher M. Thompson
HARRISBURG, PA—Gannett Fleming has named Brian W. King, P.E., and Christopher M. Thompson, P.E., as senior associates.

King, based in the firm’s corporate headquarters in Harrisburg, is a manager of maintenance facilities for Gannett Fleming Transit & Rail Systems. He has more than 25 years of experience.

Based in the firm’s Philadelphia office, Thompson is a vice president and project manager of Gannett Fleming Transit & Rail Systems with more than 12 years of experience.
  
Laura L. Toole, Jon Gerlach, Anwar Abdullah, Chirag Gandhi, Jessica Nepomiachi, Alex Rothberg
NEW YORK, NY—Sam Schwartz Engineering, PLLC (SSE), announced the hiring of Laura L. Toole as vice president and director of business development.

Toole, formerly president of Michael Baker Engineering Inc., White Plains, NY, has more than 30 years of broad-based experience in business development, marketing, public involvement, and executive management.

She is a board member of the Women’s Transportation Seminar Foundation.

SSE also announced the hiring of Jon Gerlach, Anwar Abdullah, Chirag Gandhi, Jessica Nepomiachi, and Alex Rothberg. Gerlach, formerly of New York City’s Department of Design and Construction, is a CAD Technician in the firm’s transportation planning department. Abdullah and Gandhi are inspectors with the Department of Construction Engineering and Inspection. Nepomiachi and Rothberg have joined the community outreach team as critical liaisons for communities affected by large construction projects.
  
Robert J. Philbin
HARRISBURG, PA—Robert J. Philbin has joined Capital Area Transit as its marketing and communications officer.

Philbin previously served as senior advisor and director of communications for the city of Harrisburg.