Passenger Transport - June 14, 2013
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NEWS HEADLINES

Rendell: Public Transit Drives the U.S. Economy

BY SUSAN BERLIN, Senior Editor

“Commerce virtually grinds to a halt without public transit,” former ­Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. ­Rendell told the Opening General Session of the APTA Rail Conference in ­Philadelphia—and, he said, it is the responsibility of public transportation professionals to make sure their operations keep the U.S. moving forward. More than 1,400 people attended the conference.

“Our infrastructure used to be the beacon of the world, but now it’s facing tremendous challenges,” said ­Rendell, co-chair of the Building America’s Future Educational Fund with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. “We have to stay in this battle for the long run.”

Other speakers at the session included DOT Deputy Secretary John D. Porcari; FTA Administrator Peter M. Rogoff; FRA Administrator Joseph C. Szabo; National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman; the Rt. Hon. Simon Burns, a member of Parliament and  the United Kingdom’s minister of state for transport; Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter; Joseph M. Casey, general manager, Southeastern ­Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, host ­system for the conference; APTA Chair Flora Castillo; and APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy.

Rendell cited historic investments in the nation’s infrastructure: canals developed during the ­Jefferson administration, Abraham Lincoln’s ­support for building a transcontinental railroad, and Dwight D. Eisenhower’s advocacy leading to the Interstate Highway System.

“We need to make our case,” he continued. “In the last 30 years, the number of vehicles on the road nationwide is up 104 percent, but the number of lane miles increased by only 4 percent. . . . Public transportation is not the problem, it’s the solution—the true answer to the problems we face.”

Rendell called for an investment of $200 billion per year for the next eight years in new construction and repair of U.S. infrastructure. “These are well-paying jobs that can’t be outsourced,” he added. “An investment of $1 billion has been shown to produce 20,000 jobs. Think what $200 billion would mean for the nation’s economy.”

Porcari spoke about the department’s $12 billion investment in high-speed and higher-performing intercity passenger rail. Fourteen construction projects in 11 states are now complete, he said, and 44 high-speed rail projects are currently under construction.

“Investments in rail aren’t just crucial to the health of the nation’s mobility, but also to the health of its economy,” he said. Porcari pointed to the St. Louis-Chicago-Detroit corridor, which operates trains at 110 mph, the fastest rail service outside of the Northeast Corridor, and the forthcoming California High-Speed Line, which will operate at 220 mph between San ­Francisco and Los Angeles.
“We can create a national rail network that’s the envy of the world—if we do it together,” Porcari added. “This train is not slowing down.”

Opening General Session speakers, from left: Joseph M. Casey, Elizabeth Rao of session sponsor HNTB Corporation, Joseph C. Szabo, Peter M. Rogoff, Flora Castillo, Deborah A.P. Hersman, John Porcari, Simon Burns, and Michael Melaniphy.

Rogoff said of departing DOT Secretary Ray LaHood, “We could have had no better ally to advance our concerns during the past four years,” and spoke enthusiastically about President Obama’s nominee to succeed Ray LaHood, Anthony Foxx.

On the other hand, he noted that problems with federal funding have led to across-the-board cuts in all Full Funding Grant Agreements for the first time in FTA’s history.

“FTA invested in roughly 300 miles of rail transit over the past three years in all parts of the country, but now we’re all facing considerable challenges,” Rogoff said. “This began with the failure of the congressional budget process, flatlined funding, then the sequester cut the funding even further.”

While expanding service is important, he said, the biggest challenge to public transit agencies is keeping up with state of good repair. If ridership declines on existing systems, new systems may not be able to offset the losses, he added.

Rogoff asked conference participants to share their comments on upcoming federal initiatives such as state of good repair, asset management, and safety vulnerabilities. “Our customers and your customers are the same population,” he said.

Szabo announced that the U.S. is seeing the safest decade for rail in its history. “Our job is to ensure that American passenger rail grows to meet rising demand safely, efficiently, and reliably,” he said.

Szabo added: “It’s time for rail to achieve parity with other modes of transportation. Rail’s renaissance is ours to shape.”

Hersman spoke of the NTSB’s role in investigating rail accidents.

Burns reported that the UK has underinvested in rail and neglected its infrastructure since the 1950s.

“Cars and aviation were seen as the future then. Even when money was plentiful, railways starved of funding,” he continued. “But we in the current coalition government are changing that. We believe that rail is exactly the right form of transit to meet our needs . . . it will create jobs and make us more competitive as a country.”

In her welcoming remarks, Castillo announced: “The future of public transportation has never been brighter. I’m excited about our future because I’m energized about our present—especially the important progress we’re making in workforce development.” She announced that the first class of the Early Career Program—one component of her workforce development efforts—was holding its initial meeting at the conference.

“Anything is possible on rail. That’s because of you—the people who build and run our systems—and your vision,” Melaniphy said.
He announced that almost 74 percent of respondents to a recently released Mineta Transportation Institute survey supported using their tax dollars to create, expand, and improve public transportation in their communities—in his words, a “landslide.”

Melaniphy stressed the technological advancements of modern railcars compared with those of past years. “Today’s railcars have more in common with jet aircraft than with their distant ancestors from the untamed west,” he said. “These are not your grandfather’s, or even your father’s, railcars.”

Regarding the future of U.S. high-speed rail, Melaniphy said to those in attendance: “If you’re an advocate for high-speed rail, tell [your member of Congress] this country needs to invest in a program to develop a national network of high-speed intercity passenger rail service.” He also called on conference attendees to contact their House members and Senators regarding full funding of public transit in the federal authorization bill that will succeed MAP-21 in 2014.

Casey also spoke during the program. “In looking at the 2012 APTA Annual Report, I came across this great headline: ‘Good organizations adapt to a changing world. Great organizations drive the change and lead.’ As a regional resource and business, we live by these ideas—keeping current with industry trends while always looking for ways to improve,” he said.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said: “Robust public transportation is an absolute necessity. We need a real long-term transportation bill investing in the United States of America. You can’t make long-term plans on short-term money.”

HNTB Corporation sponsored the session.

 

Public Transit Pays Final Respects to the Late Sen. Lautenberg

Public transit leaders nationwide paid a final tribute to the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), one of the country’s strongest advocates for public transportation, at a special ceremony June 5 at the New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJ Transit) commuter rail station in Secaucus, NJ, that bears his name. Lautenberg died June 3 at the age of 89.

New Jersey political and public transit leaders gathered at the Frank R. Lautenberg Rail Station at Secaucus Junction, a major hub and transfer point for NJ Transit trains, to honor the senator’s transportation legacy. The station was named in the senator’s honor in 2003 after he helped secure its funding.

Following the ceremony, Lautenberg’s casket was transferred to an Amtrak train to Washington, DC, where his body lay in repose inside the U.S. Senate Chamber. Lautenberg, the last surviving veteran of World War II in the Senate, was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

“Sen. Frank Lautenberg was a strong advocate for public transportation, not only in New Jersey, but nationwide,” said APTA Chair Flora Castillo, NJ Transit board member. “We mourn the passing of a great leader. His leadership in advancing public transportation and intercity rail will be sorely missed,” she added.

“On behalf of the 1,500 APTA members and the millions of Americans who take public transportation in the United States, I want to express our deep appreciation for Sen. Lautenberg’s contributions to public transportation,” said APTA President & CEO Michael
Melaniphy. “Public transit and passenger rail has not had a stronger champion in Congress over the past 30 years.” APTA honored Lautenberg in 1994 with its National Distinguished Service Award.

James Weinstein, NJ Transit executive director and former state transportation commissioner, said: “It’s appropriate that his last trip is a trip from a station that he helped get funding for. This is a testament to what a giant he was.”

Bud Wright, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, said Lautenberg will be missed on Capitol Hill. “His tireless work on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation, and Environment and Public
Works committees will be missed,” he noted.

Lautenberg is credited with writing legislation that created the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act, boosted rail safety, and rescued Amtrak. He was a member of transportation-related subcommittees of the both the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Environment and Public Works Committee and chaired the Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) will replace Lautenberg as chair of the subcommittee, announced Sen. Jay Rockefeller
(D-WV), committee chair. The subcommittee focuses on safety, security, and infrastructure on roads, rail lines, and ports.

“This subcommittee chairmanship will provide access to additional expertise and resources so we can move forward on a responsible plan to leverage private investment in building out our road and rail networks, ports, and other
public infrastructure priorities,” Warner said.

Photo courtesy of NJ Transit
The NJ Transit Police Color Guard and other public transit police officers and dignitaries escorted the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s casket to a waiting Amtrak train bound for Washington, DC, where his body lay in  repose before burial in Arlington National Cemetery.

 

HART Introduces New MetroRapid Route

Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) in Tampa Bay officially opened its new bus service, MetroRapid North-South, on June 10. Agency officials say the service is the first of its kind in Florida.

The new service features transit signal priority, which extends green lights, shortens red lights, and improves travel times by up to 15 percent. It also offers ticket vending machines at many stations to speed boarding, bicycle racks at each station, enhanced passenger stations, low floor buses, and increased frequency. MetroRapid buses are estimated to travel the 17.5-mile route in less than an hour.

Attending the official ribbon-cutting were Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL); HART Board Chairperson Fran Davin; Ken Hagan, chair, Hillsborough County Commission; Frank Chillura, mayor, Temple Terrace; the Rev. Wallace Bowers, HART Board of Directors; Mike Suarez, councilman, Tampa City Council; and Essie Sims Jr., chairman, Citizens Advisory Board to the East Tampa Community Redevelopment Area.

HART offered free MetroRapid rides for two weeks prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony to encourage riders to experience the new service. Teams of employees visited popular MetroRapid stops to answer questions and help riders transition to the new system.
Hillsborough County funded the $26.5 million project. HART reimbursed the county $8.8 million through cost-cutting initiatives, estimated at roughly 20 percent of the original projected cost.

 

A decorated HART MetroRapid bus at opening ceremonies. 


 

OCTA Launches ‘Bravo!’ Rapid Bus Service

On June 10, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) in Orange, CA, launched Bravo!—a new 12-mile limited-stop bus service stretching from Fullerton to Costa Mesa. The new line is designed to help commuters reach their destination more quickly and efficiently.

“OCTA is proud to launch this new service to provide our passengers with a more efficient travel option along one of our busiest routes,” said OCTA Chairman Greg Winterbottom.

To enable passengers to experience the new rapid service, OCTA offered free rides the first three days of operation. The new line has the same $2 fare as OCTA’s regular bus service.

Bravo!, branded with distinctive blue and orange coloring, operates between 5 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays. The new service marks OCTA’s continued effort to improve bus service throughout the county. As the worst of the recession fades, agency officials say they are adding back about 60,000 service hours to strengthen on-time performance and minimize overcrowding on the most heavily traveled routes.

Ridership Approaches 2.6 Billion Trips to Date

Public transportation ridership nationwide approached 2.6 billion trips for the first quarter of 2013. This was a slight decline of 1.9 percent from the first quarter of 2012. However, the 2013 ridership number is 2.5 percent higher than the first quarter of 2011, according to an APTA report released June 13.

“Despite this small decrease, demand and support for public transportation remain strong,” said APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy, who noted that voters approved nearly 80 percent of state and local public transit ballot initiatives in 2012. He also noted that last year’s first quarter ridership surged by 5 percent, in part because of a spike in high gas prices.

Further, last year’s first quarter also included the leap-year day of Feb. 29, resulting in an extra weekday in the 2012 first quarter. According to APTA analysis, one extra weekday contributes to an increase of 1.4 percent in ridership, which nearly offsets the decline for the first quarter of this year.

In the first quarter, some cities saw ridership increases due to economic recovery. They include Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Houston, Phoenix, Miami, New Orleans, Champaign-Urbana, IL, Chapel Hill, NC, and Ithaca, NY.

“Ridership continues to grow in those areas where the economy is recovering and jobs are increasing,” Melaniphy added, noting that nearly 60 percent of trips taken on public transportation are for work commutes.

To see the report, click here.

MCTS Names Giugno Managing Director

The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) has named Michael Giugno managing director following the retirement of Lloyd Grant Jr.

Giugno has been at MCTA for his entire 32-year career, after joining the agency as a bus operator in 1981. He has held a variety of positions, including operations analyst, manager of street operations, director of transportation, director of operations and, since 2011, deputy director. He serves on APTA’s Bus and Paratransit CEOs and Mid-Size Operations committees.

“It is an exciting time to guide MCTS as we move forward,” Giugno said. “My primary goal is to operate the best possible public transportation system. I am proud to lead our dedicated staff as we continue to look for ways to modernize and improve the excellent service we provide.”

Freeman-Manzanares Is New GM in Olympia

Ann Freeman-Manzanares is the new general manager of Intercity Transit, Olympia, WA. She has worked for the agency since 1993 and served in this position on an interim basis for the past eight months.

She succeeds Michael Harbour, who stepped down last year to become deputy chief executive officer with Sound Transit in Seattle.

Freeman-Manzanares has served in various senior-level positions at the agency over the past 20 years, including development director, procurement manager, and procurement coordinator. Before joining Intercity Transit, she was a principal planner for a regional planning council, administered a federally funded housing program for the State of California Housing and Community Development Department, and interned for the city of Sacramento and for a member of the California State Assembly.

She is a member of the Leadership APTA Class of 2012 and a member of the APTA Bus & Paratransit CEOs Committee, Policy and Planning Committee, and Small Operations Committee.

“I appreciate the confidence the authority has shown in me. I look forward to working with staff to accomplish the mission and the vision of Intercity Transit and to serving the members of our community,” Freeman-Manzanares said.

Transit Expert Ziv Dies

Jean-Claude Ziv, 63, public transit researcher, writer, consultant, and teacher, died May 27 after a battle with cancer.

At the time of his death, Ziv was project manager, development, for Veolia Transport in Paris. His accomplishments included the following: professor, transport logistics, Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers; secretary general, CODATU (Cooperation for urban mobility in the developing world); director, l’Institut des Transports Internationaux (ITIP); consultant and director, Les Voyages du Pont du Gard; and president, Syndicat Intercommunal pour l’Emploi du Canton de Remoulins (Gard).

He was a member of APTA and the Transportation Research Board.

Ziv received an engineering degree from Ecole Centrale de Paris, a doctorate in urbanism from the University of Paris, and a Ph.D. in city and regional planning from Cornell University.

APTA MEMBER PROFILE

Meet Richard Maxwell!

Richard Maxwell
Assistant Vice President, Marketing
Fort Worth Transportation Authority (The T)
Member, APTA Board of Directors
Chair, APTA Marketing & Communications Committee


How many people do you employ/how many people at your agency?
The Fort Worth Transportation Authority (The T) is a medium-size multimodal system established in a 1983 sales tax initiative that evolved from the city of Fort Worth’s bus system, “CITRAN” (City Transit).

Today we operate a compressed natural gas-powered (CNG) fleet of some 200 bus and paratransit vans, a downtown circulator rubber-tire trolley, and we partner with Dallas Area Rapid Transit as joint owners and operators of Trinity Railway Express
commuter rail, which began serving the Fort Worth area in 2000. The T is developing a second commuter rail, TEX Rail, scheduled to begin service from Fort Worth to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in 2016.

We employ 569 full- and part-time employees who operate and maintain our bus and paratransit service, as well as professional and administrative employees in planning, finance, marketing and communications, and support services. We transport more than
800,000 monthly passengers across our services. Last year, T ridership exceeded 9.6 million boardings, an increase of 9.4 percent over the previous year.

How long have you worked in the public transportation industry?
I’ve worked in public transportation for 13 years total. I view my 13 transit years as the capstone to my 34-year marketing career.

I began my public transit career in 2000 as marketing director for Metro Transit in Oklahoma City before moving to The T in 2002. Prior to Metro Transit, I was director of fleet fuel marketing at Love’s Travel Stops—Love’s was a pioneer in CNG fuel sales. The T is also a pioneer in CNG and almost 100 percent of our fleet runs on clean-burning natural gas, so there’s a “CNG thread” running through my work history.

How long have you been an APTA member?
Both public transit agencies I’ve worked for are APTA members. I’ve also been on the Marketing & Communications Committee for 13 years and previously was the chair of the Customer Service Challenge Task Force when we launched the Call Center Challenge. We celebrated our seventh annual competition at the Marketing and Communications Workshop in Los Angeles this past February.

What drew you to a career in public transportation?
I worked for the American Red Cross earlier in my career before returning to corporate| marketing and missed the attitude of servant leadership you have in a nonprofit. I really believe that The T makes a difference in the lives of our customers every day.

What have you found to be the most valuable APTA benefit or resource—which one helps you do your job?
I can name a few. I appreciate and benefit from the Marketing & Communications Committee’s AdWheel Awards program and networking with other marketers at conferences and through our online marketing forum on the APTA website.

Please explain why or how this has helped.
These are great resources for learning industry best practices and give me exposure to great creative ideas that I can use at The T.

What do you like most about your job?
There is never a dull moment! I have a small department and wear several hats, so I never do the same thing two days in a row.

What is unique about your agency—what would readers be surprised to learn?
The city of Fort Worth’s logo is a longhorn named Molly, and we run a shuttle service that circulates around downtown called “Molly the Trolley.” We have used trolley-replica buses in the past, but recently our maintenance department has started converting 30-foot buses to resemble trolleys and the customers love them. Come to Fort Worth for the 2015 APTA Bus & Paratransit Conference and International Bus Roadeo and you can check them out firsthand!

Make sure you see Richard Maxwell’s video, now that you've read this!

MEET THE APTA STAFF

Meet David Bruening!

David Bruening
Database Administrator
Corporate Affairs Department


What are the three job elements you focus on the most (your primary responsibilities)?
I work with APTA’s databases. I add new features to them, often so we can customize data to better serve our members. I also strategize with my immediate supervisor and other department members on how we can improve web services, manage internal services like the contract database, and help with some accounting software setups.

Do you have direct contact with APTA members? If so, please talk about the two most recent times you’ve helped out a member.
I often help members by phone or e-mail if they need help creating a MyAPTA account, logging into MyAPTA, or registering for a meeting. The term “MyAPTA” consists of pages on APTA’s website whose content and availability vary based upon the user who is logged in, such as the membership directory and a history of the user’s transactions. Through MyAPTA, members have access to many valuable password-protected resources.

What initiatives, projects, or programs have you worked on at APTA that you have taken particular pride in completing?

In 1999 I made the first web pages to order Transit Cooperative Research Program publications.

In the early 2000s I made web pages for members to submit statistical data to APTA, such as ridership, fares, vehicles, and infrastructure.

I created APTA’s electronic contracting process, which allows staff to submit and review contracts on the Internet and approve them via e-mail. APTA has been using this process for more than 10 years.

I also designed APTA’s web-based application submission and review processes for a number of APTA programs and initiatives such as abstracts (calls for papers) for Leadership APTA, the Executive Committee, Board of Directors, Business Member Board of Governors, and the newly launched Early Career Program, which is training for individuals new to the public transportation industry.

As database administrator, I oversee the association management software which is used for everything from registering for conferences to maintaining the Passenger Transport subscription list.

How did you “land” at APTA? How long have you worked here?
I worked for two other associations doing economic and statistical-type work. When I began working at APTA, I spent half my time doing statistical surveys. Gradually I started doing more information technology work. I’ve been with APTA for 16 years.

What professional affiliations do you have?
I’m certified in Microsoft ­software development.

Could you tell us something about ­yourself that might ­surprise us?
I write and record music, usually on my multi-track recording gear at home. I play bass, synthesizer, and sing ­harmony in a rock/pop band that performs at restaurants and nightclubs.

 
Make sure you see David Bruening's video, now that you've read this!

COVERAGE OF THE 2013 APTA RAIL CONFERENCE

Panel: No Easy Answers for Funding Challenges

BY JORDAN SMITH, Program Manager/Speechwriter

The challenges of developing the revenue streams that make public transit possible have no easy answers—but solutions do exist. That was the takeaway of a June 4 session at the APTA Rail Conference in Philadelphia called “Funding, Financing & Revenue.”

Six rail industry experts spoke at the panel, moderated by Michael Schneider, senior vice president, HDR/InfraConsult, and chair, APTA Public-Private Partnerships Committee.

Phillip Washington, general manager of Denver’s Regional Transportation District, discussed his agency’s Eagle P3, a public-private commuter rail project. “Even the residents of Denver don’t know how big a change is coming,” he said.

The Eagle P3 will bring 122 miles of new light rail, diesel commuter rail, and electric commuter rail lines to the Denver area. In addition, more than $164 million of the work has been committed to small and disadvantaged business. “We’re hoping for an APTA conference” when the project finally opens in 2016, Washington joked.

Funding for the Eagle P3 came from a unique variety of sources, he said, including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and a 0.4 percent increase in sales and use tax.

While public-private partnerships are a success story in Denver, “there is no one-size-fits-all financing solution” for public transit agencies around the country, said Rolando Amaya, consultant, Parsons Brinckerhoff. Amaya explained the various ways the industry can accumulate revenue, saying that tax-exempt borrowing traditionally has been the most common method.

Every public transit agency must concoct its own “cocktail” of whatever methods work, he said: “The right financial solution successfully integrates the project’s environment with the sponsor’s goals, needs, and capabilities.”

The private sector also has an important role to play, speakers emphasized. Public transit advocates can safely make the case that public-private partnerships (P3s) are a “sound venture for private investors using a ‘five-P strategy’ of the right People on a great Project with a solid Plan for a compelling Percentage return in a stable and favorable Political environment,” said Bennett J. Johnson III, founder and chief executive officer, Ocean Ventures.

Conversely, federal funding for public transit is likely to become scarcer in the future, said Richard Peltz, vice president, regional rail development, rail infrastructure management, for the American Intercity Rail Network for the 21st Century. “Appropriable funds will be even tighter in the future,” he said: Budgetary pressures will reduce available federal funds, and there will be “even more demands for discretionary funds.” Federal funds will have to be strongly leveraged to demonstrate stimulated job growth, he said.

Still, the public has demonstrated its understanding of the importance of public transit investments. “Los Angeles County voters have passed three 0.5 percent sales tax measures that are now raising over $2 billion annually for transportation improvements and services,” said David Yale, executive officer, countywide planning and development, Los Angeles Metro.

Darnell Grisby, APTA director, policy development and research, introduced a new initiative for APTA members. “We know that the type of funding sources we construct can have an impact on modal balance, economic development, and farebox recovery,” he said. “Therefore, the new Center for Funding, Finance, and Revenue will not just explain the various arrays of funding and financing choices, but also will develop an industry strategic initiative that will improve the relative position of public transit across the country.”

Resilient Rail Agencies Cope with Hurricane Sandy

BY SUSAN BERLIN, Senior Editor

Representatives of four of the rail agencies hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy shared their experiences at the June 5 Closing General Session of the APTA Rail Conference in Philadelphia.

PATH: ‘Best of Times, Worst of Times’
According to Stephen Kingsberry, director/general manager, Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation (PATH), Jersey City, NJ, his system had been experiencing its best year ever—80 million passenger trips during the year, 98.6 percent on-time performance—when the superstorm struck the Northeast Oct. 28-29, 2012.

“The impact of Sandy on our system was twice as bad as [the terrorist attacks of] 9/11, absent the loss of life,” he said. “Many of us had never seen that kind of damage—ever.”

PATH stations inundated with water included Hoboken, a major transfer point to New Jersey Transit Corporation rail and bus service and ferries to New York City, and the World Trade Center Station site in Lower Manhattan. Kingsberry said much of the extensive flooding occurred when water breached station elevators, causing damage and corrosion to operating systems.

“We rescued 32 people on the night of the storm from PATH facilities, mostly by boat,” he said. “However, we had one facility we couldn’t reach for two days.” He explained that staff members at that building were unable to evacuate because of flooded streets, and that other PATH employees eventually brought them food.

With the help of the Army Corps of Engineers and the New York Fire Department, Kingsberry said, PATH was able to pump most of the water from its stations into the Hudson River. “We couldn’t have gotten the water out by ourselves; it would have taken months,” he added.

PATH restored its first service seven days after the storm hit and resumed full operations on Jan. 30. Restoration efforts are underway at Hoboken and Exchange Place. The new World Trade Center Station is scheduled to open in 2015.

NYC Transit: ‘Unprecedented’
Joseph Leader, acting senior vice president, subways, for MTA New York City Transit (NYC Transit), echoed Kingsberry’s remarks about the severity of the storm. “Sandy delivered an unprecedented 14-foot storm surge to New York City. We never saw anything like that before.”

He described the inundation of NYC Transit’s South Ferry subway station, which he called “one of the most beautiful stations we’ve had.” The storm surge overtook everything in its path, he explained, breaking down protective barriers and completely flooding two escalators.

At the other end of NYC Transit’s service area, the Rockaway branch sustained extensive damage, including track washouts and damage to communication cables. The tracks were underneath six to seven feet of water, according to Leader.

However, despite the damage, he said, NYC Transit restored most subway service within a week: The first service resumed within two days, 98 percent within nine days.

Leader explained that NYC Transit employees began preparing for the storm a week ahead with logistical planning and distribution of resources such as plywood and sandbags.

“True resiliency in the face of a challenge is not just about new technology,” Leader said. “It’s also about mindsets, culture, and continuous improvement.”

Metro-North: ‘Preparing for The Worst’
“Information and communications, both internal and external, are very important to ourselves and our stakeholders,” said John Kennard, director, MTA Metro-North Railroad. “We have to take care of system recovery and restoration as safely and as quickly as possible, and we have to do it reliably.”

In anticipation of the storm, Metro-North “began preparing for the worst,” Kennard said. He noted that the railroad had learned from its experiences with a serious snowstorm in 1996, when insufficient planning had left rolling stock vulnerable to snow and ice.

“This time, we were working with New York City officials, the MTA [Metropolitan Transportation Authority], and the governor’s office to shut down service in an orderly manner.”

To illustrate the storm’s power, Kennard showed a slide of a 38-foot boat lifted by the surge and dropped onto Metro-North tracks. As soon as the storm retreated, he said, the work crews immediately began digging out. The least damaged line, the Harlem Line, reopened first, and Metro-North returned to 97 percent on-time performance by Nov. 5. Repairs are ongoing, he added, “due to the insidious nature of salt water damage.”

LIRR: ‘Preparation Is Key’
“At MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), we take hurricanes very seriously,” said Kevin Tomlinson, chief engineer. “Preparation is the key.”

LIRR began making plans for the storm several days before it arrived, with more than 2,500 staff members taking part in the process. By the time the railroad shut down on Oct. 28, he said, employees had moved more than 340 pieces of rolling stock to higher ground and secured grade crossings from wind and rain by either removing or immobilizing gates.

“Our most important asset is Penn Station in Manhattan, which is below ground,” Tomlinson said. “We used a six-foot diameter rubber dam—filled with 32,000 gallons of water—to keep storm water from infiltrating the station.”

Immediately after Sandy passed, LIRR deployed more than 1,000 personnel to begin recovery efforts. Tomlinson reported damage to a signal hut and power equipment, as well as more than 600 downed trees, utility poles, and wires.

LIRR restored service between Penn Station and Jamaica within 24 hours and began operating limited service on four main branches within 72 hours. Temporary repairs are still being made, Tomlinson said.

APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy, moderator for the session, noted that Hurricane Sandy was the second most costly hurricane in U.S. history, causing nearly $75 billion in damage and at least 285 deaths.

He continued: “When the busy, congested Northeast Corridor was effectively without fully operational public transportation—even for a few days—the entire region was nearly paralyzed. Only when public transportation was ‘gone,’ if only for a few days, did the public fully realize just how vital it is to the Northeast Corridor.”

Bombardier Transportation sponsored the session.

Photo by Steve Barrett
Closing General Session participants, from left: Kevin Tomlinson, moderator Michael Melaniphy, Stephen Kingsberry, Joseph Leader, and John Kennard.

SEPTA Prepares for Seamless Fare Payments

BY SUSAN BERLIN, Senior Editor

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) is preparing to institute a multimodal electronic fare payment system that will eliminate the use of tokens, tickets, and paper transfers when it enters service next year, system representatives
said at the June 2 Host Forum during the APTA Rail Conference in Philadelphia.

“This new fare system will dramatically improve customer convenience, act as an agent of change, and provide secure, reliable, convenient choices to our riders,” said Jeffrey D. Knueppel, the system’s deputy general manager, who moderated the panel discussion. He added: “This is the biggest project SEPTA has ever undertaken. It’s tough, but it will be worth it.”

When it enters service late next year, SEPTA’s new payment system will use a single electronic medium that will work with numerous common forms of payment, such as smart cards; contactless debit, credit, and prepaid cards; government-issued benefit cards; cell phones; and cash.

According to Knueppel, SEPTA is the last large public transit system to still use tokens for fares.

However, instituting the new fare medium is only the first step, he said. SEPTA also has to overhaul its 1,800 fareboxes, build and open five zone offices for support, and upgrade infrastructure—such as fiber optic communications for the subway lines and 3G/4G wireless network for buses—to accommodate the system. In addition, employees will participate in specialized training so they can serve as “ambassadors” during the transition.

“The timing was right and we were convinced it had to be done,” said John F. McGee Jr., chief officer, new payment technologies. “Before moving forward, we talked to our customers. They asked if we could design a system that didn’t require stopping at a vending machine, like EZ Pass for tolls.”

Ronald G. Hopkins, assistant general manager, operations, spoke about the “significant challenges” that occur with the rollout of a new fare payment system—particularly one that covers numerous modes.

“We see the least impact in our 1,600 buses and trolleys because the fareboxes don’t need further modification,” he said. “Nothing will change from the operator’s standpoint except for the end of paper transfers.

“On the other hand, subway riders will have to change how they do things,” he continued. “They are used to going through a fare line, dealing with cashiers in booths. We want our cashiers to come out of the booths and interact with passengers. This amounts to a change in the culture, so we’re providing them with training.”

Richard G. Burnfield, chief financial officer/treasurer, reported that SEPTA has revised its fare policies in preparation for the introduction of the new payment system.

“At SEPTA, we’re believers in incremental change. We listen to the public and hear their input,” Burnfield said. “We also realized that
price incentives would encourage our customers to begin using smart technologies—it’s costly to us to collect cash.”

The new fare technologies also will change the work demands of many SEPTA employees, he said: “With an operation as complex as SEPTA, we can reconfigure our fare collection jobs to create a better focus on customer service. Our aim is to make the new payment technology so convenient to use that our ridership will continue to grow.”

Steven C. Frazzini, vice president, fare payment solutions, for ACS, a Xerox Company, provided a vendor’s perspective on providing fare collection services across regional borders. “A customer, for example, can choose the mode of payment before tapping on at New Jersey Transit Corporation, then the Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation, then the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and make the trip seamlessly,” he noted.

Photo by Mitch Wood
Host Forum panelists, from left: moderator Jeffrey D. Knueppel, John F. McGee Jr., Ronald G. Hopkins, Richard G. Burnfield, and Steven C. Frazzini. 

Maintenance Shop Honors SEPTA’s LaForce

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) honored the legacy of John P. LaForce, a 58-year agency employee who died in November 2012, at ceremonies June 1 during the 21st Annual APTA International Rail Rodeo at the SEPTA Fern Rock Maintenance Facility. SEPTA named the signal tower at Fern Rock the LaForce Signal Tower in his memory.

LaForce was a Philadelphia transit employee long before SEPTA existed; he began working as a streetcar operator for the former Philadelphia Transportation Company (PTC) in January 1954. Over the years, he moved up through the ranks at PTC and SEPTA, holding positions as a bus, subway, and trolley operator, signals specialist, chief engineer of power, and deputy chief engineering
officer.

“John was beloved within the SEPTA family and widely respected within the industry,” said Deputy General Manager Jeff Knueppel. “He didn’t know the meaning of ‘I can’t’ and, even after an almost 60-year tenure at SEPTA, he was still on the first train in the morning to come to the office. He loved working at SEPTA.”

SEPTA unveiled a plaque that will be placed on the LaForce Signal Tower during the rodeo. Four generations of the LaForce family attended the ceremony: John’s wife Diane, daughter Donna, granddaughter Jessica, and great-granddaughter Skylar. Also present were SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey, APTA Chair Flora Castillo, and APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy.

“We could never imagine an entire building being dedicated in John’s honor,” said Jessica. “This means the world to our family.”

Jessica brought a quilt she made from her grandfather’s tie collection. The quilt includes two of John’s favorite sayings: “It’s been a good run” and “It’s not how you fall but how you get up.”

SEPTA will auction the quilt at a golf outing, with the proceeds supporting the education of another engineer. “This way, someone else can have a part of John,” Jessica added.

 

Photo by Gary G. Schempp Photography
Participants in naming ceremonies for the LaForce Signal Tower include, from left, Diane, wife of the late John LaForce; family friend Bob Egre; John’s daughter Donna and great-granddaughter Skylar; SEPTA Chief Engineering Officer of Communications and Signals Mike Monestero; SEPTA Deputy General Manager Jeff Knueppel; John’s granddaughter Jessica; and SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey.

APTA Presents Rail Safety & Security Awards

For the first time, APTA recognized rail agencies for their efforts in safety management and building a safety-oriented culture, presenting the Rail Safety & Security Excellence Awards at a June 4 luncheon.

The top honor is the Gold Award, given to organizations with the best overall rail safety or rail security program. A Certificate of Merit goes to organizations in recognition of exceptional achievement in safety or security.

For the Gold Award winners, see photos. The Certificate of Merit recipients are listed below.

Commuter/Intercity/Regional Rail
Certificate of Merit for Safety, New Jersey Transit Corporation; Certificate of Merit for Security, Agence métropolitaine de transport, Montreal, QC

Heavy Rail
Certificate of Merit for Safety, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority; Certificate of Merit for Security, Chicago Transit Authority.

Light Rail
Certificate of Merit for Safety, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority; Certificate of Merit for Safety, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, San Jose, CA; Certificate of Merit for Security, Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, Buffalo, NY. 

 

Photos by Steve Barrett
Los Angeles Metro received the Gold Award for Safety, Light Rail. From left: APTA Chair Flora Castillo, Barbara Burns, Lynda Bybee, and APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy.

 

MTA New York City Transit, Gold Award for Security, Heavy Rail, from left: Castillo, Bianco, Gerard Brush, Robert Diehl, Cathryn Flandina, Terrance O'Halloran, Melaniphy.

 

MTA New York City Transit, Gold Award for Safety, Heavy Rail, from left: Castillo, Carmen Bianco, Tracy Bowdwin, Mike Torillo, Joe Leader, and Melaniphy.

 

MTA Long Island Rail Road, Gold Award for Safety, Commuter/Intercity/Regional Rail: from left, Castillo, Bruce Weller, Michael Gelormino, Dan Cleary Jr., Neil Yellin, Loretta Ebbinghausen and Melaniphy.

Cutler: Seize Opportunities; Lead with Courage

Rina Cutler, Philadelphia deputy mayor for transportation and utilities and a member of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Board of Directors, offered her perspective on public transportation administration and her place in it when she addressed the June 4 General Luncheon at the APTA Rail Conference.

“I never grew up thinking, I want to do this when I grow up,” Cutler said, noting that her first experience with transportation was serving as a school crossing guard in fifth grade. After she graduated from college with a degree in social work, “I thought I knew where I was going”—but, as it turns out, she was wrong.

Instead of social work, Cutler said, she has worked in a variety of civic jobs, including transportation, for seven different mayors and one governor in three states. She worked in transportation for the city of Boston, created a city agency in San Francisco, returned to Boston, moved to Philadelphia, and then served six years as deputy secretary of PennDOT before returning to the city as deputy mayor in 2008.

She shared some basic career and life lessons she has learned: “Be willing to jump off a cliff. If someone offers you an opportunity, know that you can do it.” As far as asserting leadership, Cutler said, “If you’re leading and no one else is following you, you’re just taking a walk. Act as if you are in charge and eventually you will be.”

Cutler advised public transportation professionals to become part of the conversation in their communities, make themselves known to the people in charge, and learn the issues quickly so they can begin making a contribution.

Above all, she said, “Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Know that your skills are transferable and you don’t have to stay in your wheel well.”

The luncheon session also included the presentation of APTA’s first Rail Safety & Security Excellence Awards. (See related story.)

AECOM sponsored the luncheon.

A Night at the (Art) Museum



Photo by Gary G. Schempp Photography
SEPTA provided shuttle bus service to a gala reception it held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art prior to the opening of the APTA Rail Conference. SEPTA welcomed attendees in the Great Stair Hall and invited guests to visit galleries opened especially for the event.

SEPTA Takes Top APTA Rail Rodeo Award

Teams from 18 public transportation systems across North America competed in the 21st annual APTA International Rail Rodeo, held June 1 in conjunction with the APTA Rail Conference in Philadelphia. Winners of rodeo events received recognition at the June 2 Rodeo Banquet.

The competition is designed to encourage excellence and professionalism in rail transit operations, recognizing both operators and maintenance teams.

“Public transportation is all about the people, and the International Rail Rodeo is about recognizing the best of our front-line employees,” said APTA Chair Flora Castillo in congratulating the winners.

“Those who operate and maintain our public transportation systems are the backbone of our industry,” said APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy. “They set out every day to make America’s public transportation systems the best anywhere.”

The top award in the rodeo, the Grand Champion Award, goes to the system with the highest combined score for operator team and maintainer team.

The operators’ competition measures professional skills including train operation, knowledge of safety regulations, train equipment, and track right-of-way rules and procedures.

The maintainers’ competition judges the ability to troubleshoot maintenance problems.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, Philadelphia, received the Grand Champion Award and took first place in the operators’ competition. The Charlotte Area Transit System, Charlotte, NC, placed first in the maintainers’ competition.

Among operators, second place went to Danai Lambert and David Becker of Sacramento Regional Transit District and third place to Roberta Randolph and Gregory Raspberry from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District won second place in the maintainers’ competition with the team of Carl Ambrose, Edward Christian, and Daniel Parris. The team of Brian Shupe, James Salisbury, and Jack Smith from Seattle’s Sound Transit came in third.

Melaniphy recognized the officers of the International Rail Rodeo Committee: Mark Stowers, BART, chair; Mike Richard, BC Rapid Transit Company, vice chair-operators; Douglas Smith, WMATA, vice chair-maintainers; Todd Williams, Penn Machine Company, secretary; and David Kowalski, Chicago Transit Authority, immediate past chair.

 

Photos by Steve Barrett
SEPTA received the International Rail Rodeo Grand Champion Award. Team members are: maintainers, Rob Brooks, fourth from left; Don Chakov, sixth from left, and Nicholas Baldassarre, eighth from left, and operators Adrian Mapp, fifth from right, and Sharon Mapp, third from right. SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey is third from left. 

 

First-place rail maintainers from the Charlotte Area Transit System: Charles Truong, third from left; Patrick Mills, third from right; and Eugene Capote, second from right. APTA Chair Flora Castillo is at left and APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy is at right in all photos.

 

SEPTA rail operators Adrian Mapp, fifth from left, and Sharon Mapp, fourth from right, took first place in the rail operators' competition. SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey is fourth from left. 

FRA Officials Speak on ‘The Mode of Opportunity’

FRA representatives called for an end to underinvestment in rail and increased connections among modes of transportation at a session titled “Rail: The Mode of Opportunity,” which echoed a quote from FRA Administrator Joseph C. Szabo, during the APTA Rail Conference.

Paul Nissenbaum, associate administrator for railroad policy and development, said he sees room for growth in passenger and freight rail. He reported on federal programs supporting rail construction and development, saying the coming summer “will be the busiest construction season yet” and calling rail projects funded with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants “a pipeline for job creation.”

“Rail is not in competition with other modes; we also need investment in our roads, aviation, and public transit,” Nissenbaum said. “Rail should complement these other modes and help them deal with their capacity issues.”

He noted FRA’s five key themes: enhance world-class safety, modernize rail infrastructure, meet the growing market demand, promote innovation, and ensure transparency and accountability.

President Obama has proposed $50 billion to jump-start infrastructure improvements, Nissenbaum said, of which $5 billion would go to rail. “What we’ve got on the table is bold,” he said. “It will be challenging—but we think it’s essential.”

Scott Greene, chief of the industry economics division, noted that the U.S. population is projected to grow by 100 million in the next 40 years, leading to increased demand for passenger and freight transportation.

Kevin Kesler, chief of rolling stock research and development, focused on federal funding. “Our goal is to change the world,” he said of efforts to increase investment through partnerships among railroads, suppliers, and government agencies.

 

Photos by Steve Barrett
Scott Greene, left, and Kevin Kesler

Scenes from the APTA Rail Conference

 

 

 

Photo by Mitch Wood
Philadelphia's famous Mummers played and danced the crowd into the Rail Products & Services Showcase for the Welcome to Philadelphia Reception.

Photo by Mitch Wood
Conference participants took advantage of many formal and informal opportunities to network. More than 1,400 rail industry professionals attended the conference. 

 

 

Photo by Steve Barrett
APTA partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other organizations to host a "Hire Our Heroes" Job Fair for veterans during the conference. SEPTA employee Jordan Ranalli, second from left, a Marine Corps reservist who served on active duty in Iraq and current is in the Army National Guard, led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. Speakers at the event included, from left, SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey; APTA Chair Flora Castillo; Denver Regional Transportation District General Manager Phillip Washington, an Army veteran who retired as a command sergeant major after 24 years; and APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy.

Photo by Steve Barrett
Eighty-one exhibitors participated in the Rail Products & Services Showcase, which provided opportunities for APTA business members and public transit agency members to network, share information, and discuss new and innovative rail equipment and services. 

 

 

Photo by Steve Barrett
Large crowds attended dozens of Rail Conference sessions, ranging from keynote addresses to technical educational sessions, panel discussions on policy issues, and programs geared to managers and executives. 

Photo by Steve Barrett
Several transportation-related employers were among the 30 organizationa participating in the job fair, discussing job opportunities with approximately 110 veterans from the Philadelphia area. 

 

 

Photo by Steve Barrett
APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy, right, conducted a VIP tour of the Products & Services Showcase with international transportation professionals Timothy Fischer, center, former deputy prime minister of Australia and a panelist in the International Developments in High-Speed Rail sesion, and the Rt. Hon. Simon Burns, a member of Parliament and the minister of state for transport in the United Kingdom, who addressed the Opening General Session.

Photo by Steve Barrett
APTA business members participated in a breakfast roundtable session on workforce development that featured interactive small-group discussions and presentations by professors and faculty members representing engineering colleges.

 

Photo by Steve Barrett
APTA leaders and conference speakers held a press conference during which they announced the results of a new survey conducted by the Mineta Transportation Institute. Participants were, from left, SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey; former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, Opening General Session keynote speaker; FRA Administrator Joseph C. Szabo; FTA Adninistrator Peter M. Rogoff; and APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy.

Photo by Mitch Wood
Conference host system SEPTA rolled out the red carpet for Rail Conference attendees, including welcome messages posted in their rail stations. This poster appeared in the Market East Station, positioned against a backdrop of wall-sized mosaic artwork. 

AROUND THE INDUSTRY

T&I Committee Holds Hearings on NEC


Photo courtesy of the House T&I Committee. © 2013
Five members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure took a ride June 6 on Amtrak’s Acela from Washington to New York City to hold a “field hearing” on the Northeast Corridor. Joining committee Chair Bill Shuster (R-PA), second from right, are, from left, Reps. Corrine Brown (D-FL) and Albio Sires (D-NJ), Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Joe Boardman, and Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA). Committee member Patrick Meehan (R-PA) attended but is not pictured. Shuster said that possibly ending the mandate that Amtrak serve nearly all of the country is “something we have to take a hard look at.” He continued: “I think we need to step back for a minute and examine it all and put the money where it makes sense.” Shuster also offered praise for the Northeast Corridor, calling it the “jewel in Amtrak’s crown.”

PSTA Provides Training for Guide Dogs

The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) in St. Petersburg, FL, recently joined with Southeastern Guide Dogs to host its first-ever guide dog training session. The purpose of the program is to acclimate guide dogs to the sights, sounds, and feel of riding public transit and teach the animals to properly board, alight, and ride PSTA vehicles.

Eleven guide dogs in training—ages 11 weeks to 15 months—and their raisers rode on a bus operated by Theo Bakomihalis, PSTA safety and security and training supervisor and the agency’s 2005 Driver of the Year. He said of his canine passengers: “They’re arguably one of the cutest . . . and furriest groups I’ve ever driven. They’re so happy and eager to get on the bus, it’s really fun.”

The training involved driving the bus throughout the community and stopping at various locations to let the puppies and their raisers board and alight.

Southeastern Guide Dogs is an organization that trains dogs to help people with visual impairments to allow them to live more independent lives.

Truth, Justice, and Freedom from Traffic

As Hollywood knows, there are all kinds of magic. During recent location filming in Cleveland for Captain America: The Winter
Soldier
, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) made its own impact by introducing a public transit-savvy superhero—“Captain RTA”—to promote using the rail line that runs parallel to the closed road. The costumed hero spoke with drivers stuck in traffic and gave them passes, encouraging them to “Join the Ride” on GCRTA and get out of the traffic.

APTA NEWS

Nominations Committee Seeks Recommendations for Slate

Do you have what it takes to serve on the APTA Executive Committee or Board of Directors, or know someone who does?

The APTA Nominating Committee, appointed by APTA Chair Flora Castillo, is accepting nominations through Aug. 2. The committee will then recommend a slate of nominees, who will stand for election at APTA’s virtual annual business meeting and election Tuesday, Sept. 24, a few days before APTA’s Annual Meeting, Sept. 29-Oct. 2 in Chicago.

In keeping with APTA’s commitment to sustainability, APTA is e-mailing a nominations packet to all members on June 17. The packet includes the Nominating Committee roster, list of open officer and director positions, and directions for accessing nomination and authorization forms.

Past APTA Chair Gary C. Thomas, president and executive director, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, chairs the committee. Members are Lorraine Anderson, Regional Transportation District, Denver; Raul Bravo, Raul Bravo and Associates; Vida Covington, Sound Transit, Seattle; Grace Crunican, San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District; Donna DeMartino, San Joaquin Regional Transit District, Stockton, CA; Carl Desrosiers, Societe de Transport de Montreal; Aida Douglas, Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Austin, TX; Huelon A. Harrison, Legacy Resource Group; Mark Huffer, Kansas City Area Transportation Authority; Ysela Llort, Miami-Dade Transit; Donna McNamee, Laketran, Grand River, OH; Hugh A. Mose, Centre Area Transportation Authority, State College, PA; Tom Nolan, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency; Raquel Olivier, Olivier Incorporated;  Maryanne Roberts, Bombardier Transportation; Matthew O. Tucker, North County Transit District, Oceanside, CA; Thomas Waldron, AECOM; and James Weinstein, New Jersey Transit Corporation.

Interested individuals can find additional details here or from Jim LaRusch.

Global City Advocate Is Annual Meeting Opening Speaker

Internationally renowned urban consultant and advocate Gil Penalosa is the keynote speaker for the Oct. 1 Opening General Session of APTA’s Annual Meeting, Sept. 29-Oct. 2, in Chicago.

Penalosa is the executive director of 8-80 Cities, a Canadian-based nonprofit organization aimed at making cities more accessible, safe, and enjoyable through public transportation, walking, bicycling, and other modes of sustainable mobility.

As the former commissioner of parks and recreation for Bogotá, Colombia, he successfully led the design and development of
200 parks and initiated car-free Sundays, a program in which one million people walk, run, skate, and bike along 75 miles of the city’s roads every week. He serves as a senior consultant for Gehl Architects and is on the board of City Parks Alliance, USA, among many other affiliations.

APTA invites people to register for the Annual Meeting before Aug. 16 to qualify for early registration discounts. For details, click here.

APTA, UITP Sign Agreement

APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy, left, and Alain Plausch, secretary general of the International Association of Public Transport (UITP), signed a new APTA-UITP cooperative agreement at the recent UITP World Congress in Geneva, Switzerland. Melaniphy and APTA Chair Flora Castillo were invited to the Congress to represent APTA and share solutions to improve urban mobility worldwide. UITP is a global network of nearly 3,400 public transport professionals from more than 92 countries. It represents urban and regional passenger transport operators, authorities, and supplying and service companies, among other organizations.

COMMENTARY

Now Is the Time To Be an Infrastructure Hawk, Not a Deficit Hawk

BY EZRA KLEIN, The Washington Post

There’s a far better case right now for being an infrastructure hawk than a deficit hawk.

Deficit hawks tend to have two worries. The first is a practical concern about interest rates. Too much government borrowing can, in a healthy economy, begin to “crowd out” private borrowing. That means interest rates rise and the economy slows.
The second is a moral concern about forcing our children to pay the bill for the things we bought. This is how Mitt Romney talked about debt during the campaign. “It’s not moral for my generation to keep spending massively more than we take in, knowing those burdens are going to be passed on to the next generation, and they’re going to be paying the interest and the principal all their lives,” he said.

These are real, worthwhile concerns. But in this economy, both make a stronger case for investing in infrastructure than paying down debt.

Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers put it with unusual clarity at a Wall Street Journal breakfast on Tuesday. “We need to recognize that burdening future generations is a crucial issue,” he said. “But just as you burden future generations when you accumulate debt, you also burden future generations when you defer maintenance.”

Think about what a deficit is: It’s a dollar of debt you passed down to your children instead of paying for yourself. That dollar of debt could come in the form of a bond owned by China, or it could come in the form of overdue runway repair. Either way, someone is paying and it’s not you.

Summers used the example of New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport. “Kennedy Airport is going to be repaired at some point. Potholes in roads are going to be filled. The question is whether we’re going to fill them now, when we can borrow to fill them at zero in real terms, and when construction unemployment is near double digits, or whether we’re going to do that years from now, when there will no longer be any multiplier benefits to those expenditures and when the deficit problem will be a more serious problem.”

That last bit requires some explanation. Remember the first concern about deficits: That they’ll lead to rising interest rates. That’s not happening right now. In real terms — which means after accounting for inflation — the U.S. government can borrow for five, seven or 10 years at less than nothing. And yes, I mean “less than nothing.” Look at the Treasury’s list of “real yield curve rates” for yourself. There are little minus signs in front of the numbers. They’re actually negative. That’s extraordinary. It means markets are so nervous that they will literally pay us to keep their money safe for them.

So the thing we’d typically worry about with high deficits? It’s not happening. It’s not close to happening. Interest rates aren’t high. They’re ridiculously, comically, insanely low. But in the coming years, they’ll rise again. So that’s one reason we should do infrastructure now rather than later: If we do it later, it will cost us more, as interest rates will have risen. We’ll have missed the big sale.

The other big thing is that unemployment in the construction sector remains wracked by unemployment. There are construction workers who need work right now. Putting them to work today would be a huge boon to the economy in a way it won’t be in, say, 10 years, when they’ll (hopefully) have work.

The opposite is true of deficit reduction. Austerity hurts much more when the economy is weak than when it’s strong. Yet our plan, as framed in current law, is to reduce the deficit while the economy is weak and increase it while it’s strong. The deficit is projected to fall faster over the next two years than at any time since World War II. Then it’s projected to rise for the rest of the decade.

This, then, is the difference between spending the next two years investing in infrastructure and spending the next two years sharply reducing the deficit. Both of them need to be done eventually. Delaying either means saddling the future with debts we declined to pay off in the present. But this is a particularly good time to invest in infrastructure and a particularly bad time to cut deep into the deficit. And yet we’re ignoring infrastructure and rapidly reducing the deficit. We’ve got it backwards.

Getting it forwards would mean putting in place a 10- or 12-year deficit reduction plan that includes a substantial infrastructure investment in the next two or three years. To their credit, that’s what the Obama administration has actually proposed. But Summers, who served in this White House during the stimulus, had an additional word of warning about infrastructure.

“It’s important to distinguish as between fundamental visionary infrastructure investment and maintenance,” he said. “The former is much more glamorous. It also takes much longer and is much more complex. The latter probably has a higher rate of return, as best one can judge these things, and can be geared up much more rapidly.”

The way to get infrastructure investment up-and-running quickly is to fix what we already have rather than begin bold new projects. But as Summers says, “You can’t name a filled-in pothole. You can’t name an uncollapsed bridge.” Politicians tend to go for big legacy projects rather than small repairs. But small repairs now, and more deficit reduction later, is what we need. So how about it, deficit hawks? Want to join with the infrastructure hawks?

From The Washington Post, June 5, © 2013 Washington Post. All rights reserved. Used by permission and protected by the Copyright Laws of the United States. The printing, copying, redistribution, or retransmission of this Content without express written permission is prohibited.

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

Who's Doing What in the Industry

Patrick Scully
SCHAUMBURG, IL—Motor Coach Industries (MCI) has promoted Patrick Scully to executive vice president, sales and marketing. He will oversee the company’s private, public, and Setra new coach sales teams under one cohesive group.

Scully joined MCI in 2012 as vice president of public sector sales and marketing following MCI’s acquisition of the U.S. and Canadian distribution rights for Setra motorcoaches from Daimler Bus, where he was formerly chief commercial officer responsible for both private and public sector sales.

Lurae Stuart, David F. Peterson, Sharon Humphreys
NEW YORK, NY—Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) has announced the following appointments:

Lurae Stuart has been named a senior principal technical specialist in the Portland, OR, office of PB. She has more than 25 years of experience in project management, safety, security, and operations in public transportation, most recently with Good Harbor Consulting in Abu Dhabi, UAE, and earlier coordinating and managing APTA’s industry standards development program.

David F. Peterson has joined PB’s Minneapolis office as a senior engineering manager. He joins the firm after working for a consulting engineering firm in Australia responsible for design of coal railway projects. In addition, he previously managed engineering design projects for Metro Transit’s Central Corridor and Hiawatha light rail systems in Minneapolis.

Sharon Humphreys has been named a senior supervising engineer in the San Diego office. She has worked in the field for more than 20 years, most recently as a vice president in the San Diego office of a national consulting engineering firm.




Richard A. Krisak, Gordin L. Hutchinson, Rukiya S. Eaddy, Edward L. Johnson

ATLANTA, GA—The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) has announced several additions to its executive management team.

Richard A. Krisak, formerly assistant general manager for rail, is now MARTA’s chief operating officer. He has 33 years of experience in rail transit in a variety of modes.

Gordon L. Hutchinson has joined MARTA as its chief financial officer (CFO). He previously was acting CFO and controller for the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) and has also worked in the private sector and public accounting.

Rukiya S. Eaddy was named MARTA chief of staff. She has more than 12 years of experience building relationships, serving most recently as external affairs manager for the Atlanta BeltLine.

Edward L. Johnson, chief administrative officer, comes to MARTA after 13 years with the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority (LYNX) in Orlando.

Robert Ruzinsky
DAYTON, OH—The Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority (GDRTA) has named Robert Ruzinsky to the newly created position of chief capital officer.

Ruzinsky originally joined the agency in 1987 as a member of the accounting group and moved up through the department, also serving as interim manager of human resources. He left GDRTA in 2002 and started a transit consulting business specializing in grants, funding, and management issues. More recently, Ruzinsky returned to GDRTA as our finance manager on a part-time basis while also serving as chief financial officer of the Butler County Regional Transit Authority, Hamilton, OH.

Christopher A. Kozub
PHILADELPHIA, PA—Transportation Resource Associates announced the hiring of Christopher A. Kozub as senior director.

Kozub has worked for more than 30 years in the emergency services, transportation safety and security, and training fields.




Keith J. Bucklew, Douglas B. Saunders

CAMBRIDGE, MA—CDM Smith announced the hiring of Keith J. Bucklew and Douglas B. Saunders, P.E.

Bucklew has more than 27 years of strategic freight and multimodal planning expertise. Based in the firm’s Indianapolis office, he will be responsible for developing and overseeing the firm’s freight transportation practice.

Saunders joins the firm as senior transportation engineer, based in Raleigh, NC. He has more than 29 years of experience with federal-, state-, and municipal-funded transportation design and construction projects, as well as private development.

Nick Inamdar
MIAMI, FL—The Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners has named Nick Inamdar its business representative on the Governing Board of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority.

Inamdar is the vice president of the Gatehouse Companies, responsible for the development, underwriting, and financing of multi-family communities throughout Florida.


Nabi R. Fakroddin

CHICAGO, IL—Nabi R. Fakroddin has joined the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) Board of Directors, representing Kane County. He succeeds Jan Carlson.

Fakroddin, former director of Kane County DOT, is a licensed professional and structural engineer.

Richard Reis
SEATTLE, WA—Richard Reis has been named a vice president and Northwest regional manager for URS Corporation’s Infrastructure & Environment Division.

Reis has more than 34 years of experience in engineering, construction, and project management. Prior to joining URS, he was operations manager for Tetra Tech in Bellevue, WA, and Northwest regional operations manager at WHPacific.

John Kardos
PLATTSBURGH, NY—Nova Bus announced the promotion of John Kardos to vice president of business development.

Kardos joined the company in 2010 as bids and contracts director, after holding a variety of high-level positions for major firms in the transportation sector. He has more than 20 years of experience in international sales, business development, long-term contract negotiations, and project management.

David Stackrow, Georgeanna Nugent-Lussier, Joseph M. Spairana Jr., Arthur F. Young Jr.
ALBANY, NY—The Capital District Transportation Authority Board of Directors has elected David M. Stackrow as its chairman for the third time since he joined the board in 1995. He succeeds Denise Figueroa.

Also elected were Georgeanna Nugent-Lussier, vice chairperson; Joseph M. Spairana Jr., secretary; and Arthur F. Young Jr., treasurer.

Stackrow represents Rensselaer County on the board. APTA honored him in 2009 with its Outstanding Public Transportation Board Member Award.

Nugent-Lussier joined the board in 2009, representing Saratoga County.

Young, a board member since 1995 representing Albany County, has served as treasurer since 1998. He is a retired officer of Key Bank of New York.

Spairana, representing Rensselaer County, has been a board member since December 2008, and served as vice chairman from 2010 until April 2013. He is a retired Engineer in Charge from New York State DOT with 35 years of service.

Kevin Masterson, C. Jack Martinson
GREENVILLE, SC—Faiveley Transport North America has named Kevin Masterson services sales director and C. Jack Martinson vice president, OEM sales-transit.

Masterson formerly was national sales manager for a division of Illinois Tool Works. He also has 20 years of rail experience with JMA Railroad Supply.

Martinson comes to Faiveley from Bombardier Transportation North America, where he was director, business development and sales. He also was instrumental in the startup of Hyundai Rotem USA, where he was vice president of business development.

Brent Beasley, Robert (Robbie) Wilson
FARIBAULT, MN—ABC Companies has named two new parts territory managers. Brent Beasley will serve Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida. Robert (Robbie) Wilson oversees Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia.

Beasley has more than 12 years of experience in the coach and limousine industry. He began his career as owner and operator of Premier Limousine in Fort Smith, AR, and more recently worked for Federal Coach.

Wilson started his career more than 30 years ago as owner and operator of Family Motorcoach Tours & Charters in Knoxville, TN. He joined MCI in 1993, serving most recently as technical solutions manager for the company’s Southeast Regional Territory.

Wendy Clark-Getzin
BREMERTON, WA—Wendy Clark-Getzin, a 19-year employee of Kitsap Transit in Bremerton, is joining Clallam Transit in Port Angeles, WA, as its general manager. She succeeds Terry Weed, who is retiring after 33 years with that agency.

Clark-Getzin most recently served Kitsap Transit as capital/facilities director. Earlier in her career, she spent three years as a transportation planner with Clallam County.

James M. Faber
ORANGE, CA—James M. Faber, P.E., has joined J.L. Patterson & Associates Inc. as director of technical services and business development.

Faber is a registered civil engineer with 29 years of experience. He has managed and delivered a dozen railroad grade separation projects over the past 15 years.

Ken Phipps
ORANGE, CA—The Orange County Transportation Authority has promoted Ken Phipps, executive director of finance and administration to deputy chief executive officer.

Phipps has worked at OCTA for 19 years, serving in his most recent position since 2009.

Joseph Leader
NEW YORK, NY—MTA New York City Transit (NYC Transit) has named Joseph Leader acting senior vice president, Department of Subways. He succeeds Carmen Bianco, who is currently serving as acting president of NYC Transit.

Leader is an electrical engineer with 27 years of experience within NYC Transit, serving most recently as vice president and chief maintenance officer, Department of Subways. His tenure includes 10 years as a senior manager within the Department of Subways and terms as superintendent of track safety and director of investigations in the Office of System Safety.