Passenger Transport - June 30, 2015
(Print All Articles)

Congress Moves on Transportation Bills

Committees in both the Senate and the House took action at the end of June to advance several transportation bills. A summary follows.

Senate Appropriations Committee
The Senate Appropriations Committee voted June 25 to approve the Fiscal Year 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies (THUD) appropriations bill, which can now go to the full Senate, which is on recess until July 7.

The version of the bill passed by the full committee contained very few changes from the one passed by the THUD Subcommittee. Democratic and Republican members of the committee acknowledged that the discretionary spending caps set forth in the Budget Control Act were restraining spending to a point that prevented them from funding important priorities.

While several amendments were offered that would have increased spending on Amtrak, TIGER grants, New Starts and PTC implementation, none were adopted.

The bill provides $10.5 billion for FTA, $424 million less than the FY 2015 enacted level. Transit formula grants total $8.6 billion, contingent on the enactment of new transportation authorization legislation, as the current authorization, MAP-21, expires this year. This funding level is consistent with MAP-21.

It provides $1.6 billion for Capital Investment Grants (New Starts), fully funding all current Full Funding Grant Agreements as well as new projects. Another $75 million will fund core capacity projects and $30 million for Small Starts projects—competitive grant funding for major transit capital investments including rapid rail, light rail, commuter rail and BRT—planned and operated by local communities. Also, the TIGER grant funding level is $500 million, equal to the FY 2015 enacted level.

FRA would receive $1.68 billion, $53 million above the FY 2015 enacted level. This includes $289 million for Amtrak operations and continued service for all current routes and $1.1 billion for capital grants. The bill also provides an additional $17 million for the Northeast Corridor and Amtrak.

Funding for rail safety and research programs is $288 million, $12 million above the FY 2015 enacted level. The bill also allows $50 million for rail safety grants to support implementation of PTC.

Senate Commerce Committee
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation voted June 25 to approve the “Railroad Reform, Enhancement and Efficiency Act” with seven amendments.

The bipartisan measure authorizes $6.6 billion in Amtrak funding from FY 2016-FY 2019, averaging $1.65 billion per year, and $2.28 billion, averaging $570 million per year, for grants to rail agencies to fund a wide range of critical projects including installation of PTC, infrastructure and grade crossing improvements.

The bill also makes grants available for research initiatives, the development of rail safety standards and rail workforce development programs. It includes several safety provisions and makes changes to the Railroad ­Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing program application and notification process.

Senate EPW
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted unanimously June 24 to approve the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act, S. 1647, which the committee leadership hopes will serve as the highway title for a six-year surface transportation authorization bill to be passed this year.

The DRIVE Act grows the highway program, providing $278 billion in contract authority over six years. An eventual bill would also include three other titles that have yet to be introduced: a public transit title (Banking Committee), a safety title (Commerce Committee) and a funding title (Finance Committee).

The legislation increases funding by more than 10 percent over six years for key formula programs including the National Highway Performance Program, the Surface Transportation Program, and the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program. It also creates the Assistance for Major Projects (AMP) program, a nationally competitive discretionary grant program funded at $300 million-$450 million per year over the six-year life of the bill. FHWA would administer the program, designed to help complete critical, high-cost infrastructure projects that achieve national or regional objectives.

Public transit agencies are eligible for grants under AMP, although the program only allows 20 percent of the program funds to go to transit, rail, and other intermodal projects.

The TIFIA loan program was amended to add eligibility for TOD projects, but eligible projects must have costs reasonably anticipated to be at least $10 million. The DRIVE Act also authorizes $72.5 million per year for the University Transportation Centers program.

Additional Hearings
The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures hearing considered various repatriation proposals to fund the HTF.

The House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials heard testimony on PTC. (See story, page 3.)

The Senate Finance Committee explored financing options for transportation infrastructure, specifically public-private partnerships and private activity bonds.

For details, go to APTA’s latest Legis­lative Alert at


Industry Leaders Gather for Annual Rail Conference

More than 1,200 passenger rail professionals gathered in Salt Lake City June 21-24 to network, share best practices, discuss trends and innovations, learn about industry products and services and engage in pressing industry issues as APTA conducted its International Rail Rodeo and Annual Rail Conference.

“Salt Lake is a true public transportation success story and APTA is grateful to the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) and CEO Mike Allegra for making us feel like hometown neighbors this week,” APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy said at the Opening General Session.

“This event is one of APTA’s largest. For the next three days, prepare to be impressed. We have designed a program to deliver the timeliest information on such issues as operations, safety and security, finance, capital projects, and advances in technology across every rail mode.”

In addition to the more than 40 focused sessions in six tracks of study, numerous technical forums, committee meetings, awards presentations and workshops were four General Sessions that featured advocacy updates, safety and security awards presentations, DOT news, a discussion of international funding and financing mechanisms and a special presentation about the race between New York City and Boston for the nation’s first subway.

Brief reports of those General Sessions start below. Find more conference news and photos in this issue.

Washington: SU4T’s Action and Impact
At the June 22 Opening General Session, APTA Chair Phillip Washington, chief executive officer of Los Angeles Metro, praised the “big noise” the public transportation industry and its supporters made on Stand Up for Transportation Day (SU4T), April 9, and in its aftermath.

SU4T was one of Washington’s signature projects as APTA chair and, he said, “it linked two of my favorite things—action and impact.” More than 360 entities from across the U.S. participated in more than 150 events based on the need to work together in the best interest of the country to repair, strengthen and build its transportation infrastructure.

As for impact, Washington pointed out that six governors, one former governor, nine members of the U.S. Senate, 50 members of the House and 71 mayors participated in SU4T events, as did FTA Acting Administrator Therese ­McMillan and numerous state DOT leaders. More than 22,000 advocates representing every single congressional district signed APTA’s online petition. And in addition to extensive media coverage, SU4T was the third highest U.S. trending topic on Twitter that day.

However, Washington emphasized, the push for a long-term bill continues. “Too many of us are operating 21st-century vehicles on 19th-­century infrastructure,” he said. While the primary benefit of long-term federal funding is to allow transit systems to make plans, another is that ­federal support helps balance the risk undertaken by private-sector partners.

He cited APTA statistics showing that eliminating federal funds for public transportation would shrink the entire economy by $227 billion—leading to a 43 percent cut in agencies’ capital budgets. Long-term, fully funded federal support for transportation, he said, is “a matter of economic prosperity, of national security, of nation building right here at home.”

Melaniphy described the “resurgence, ­revitalization, and renaissance in rail” spreading across the U.S. in recent years. He called the various forms of passenger rail “a mode of mobility that has always connected our country.”

He also addressed rail’s present-day impact. “A new kind of national mobility grid is emerging and it is being driven by rail. We are literally changing America.”

Melaniphy cited the opening of 190 new U.S. rail projects since 1990, many of them within the past 18 months. “Even as we sit here today, more than 2,500 miles of high-performance rail are under construction in 34 states,” he added.

For example, he noted the accomplishments of UTA, host system for the conference. After starting from scratch, UTA now provides service on more than 135 miles of passenger rail, including commuter rail, light rail and streetcars.

Echoing Washington’s call to action, he stressed, “There are no short-term solutions to our long-term challenges. We need Congress to understand that this is the time to make the necessary investments: for public safety, for growing demands, for increased capacity and for the prosperity of our nation”—harkening back to the completion of the first Transcontinental Railroad at Utah’s Promontory Point in 1869.

Melaniphy also listed an “ongoing and absolute commitment to safety,” including education of passengers, and the need to keep up with new technologies as priorities for rail transit professionals.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert welcomed conference attendees, calling himself a “common-sense conservative” who believes that the importance of transportation to a community must trump rigid ideologies. Businesses considering investing in Utah understand, he said, that “if you want to prosper in this state, we need a transportation system that works.”

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker praised UTA’s “incredible return on investment,” saying that the city’s population growth would not have been possible without public transit. “We know that rail is part of the future of Salt Lake City and is important to preserve what we love about living here,” he added.

Greg Hughes, speaker of the Utah House of Representatives and a former UTA board member, told of how he began as a “bitter critic” of public transportation in a spread-out community—he came to Salt Lake City from Pittsburgh—and how his attitudes changed as he saw how different modes and technologies can serve communities. “I believe transportation infrastructure is a responsibility of government,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be a partisan issue; we can find common ground.”

Allegra thanked the business community for its “unbelievable support” during the FrontLines 2015 effort, which completed five rail projects under budget and two years ahead of schedule.

The session opened with a fast-paced video presenting the history of passenger rail, from the driving of the Golden Spike in Utah in 1869 to complete the first Transcontinental Railroad to present-day images of UTA’s TRAX light rail, FrontRunner commuter rail and the Sugar House Streetcar. See the one-minute video at
HDR sponsored the Opening General Session.

Feinberg, McMillan at DOT Session: Dealing with Safety, Other Challenges
Safety was the main issue in a discussion with FRA Acting Administrator Sarah Feinberg and FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan at the Monday afternoon “Dialogue with USDOT” session, hosted by APTA Chair Phillip Washington.

Feinberg participated via teleconference because she was preparing to testify on PTC at a June 24 hearing before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials. (See related story on page 3.)

“Safety rules everything we do at FRA. We need to ensure that we are doing everything we can to make your jobs easier,” Feinberg said. She added that “Few organizations do as much as APTA does to make our systems increasingly safe,” noting that APTA is an important part of the nationwide debate about safety and resources.

Feinberg called PTC “the most ­important safety technology in more than a century” and said FRA stands behind the congressional requirement for rail systems to implement PTC by the end of this year. “I know that decision gives many of you significant heartburn and that the process is expensive,” Feinberg said. “To reach full implementation, Congress and FRA must partner with your agencies.”

McMillan said, regarding safety and state of good repair issues, ­“Transit ­systems do not have the luxury to choose between adding capacity and maintaining safety. They need to do both and need funding that will allow this to happen.”

She commented on FTA’s Safety Management Inspection of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority following the smoke incident in January that led to the death of one passenger. FTA gained oversight authority as part of MAP-21, she said, and the process must take into account the specific needs of each agency rather than trying to use a single format for all systems.

She related her travel experience attempting to fly from Washington to Salt Lake City for the conference as an example of “the reality we need to strive for in public transit.” The plane left the gate and sat on the tarmac because of incoming bad weather, she said, then returned to the gate to get additional fuel to accommodate a longer alternative route. The fueling took long enough that the time window for departure closed, leading to the cancellation of the flight after five hours.

“The passengers in our full plane, a Boeing 757, were annoyed by the inconvenience,” she said, “but they weren’t crazed; there were no screaming calls for the pilot’s head. At the end of the day, we knew those decisions were made to keep us safe as passengers and to keep that flight crew safe. We accepted that; we knew that’s what had to be done.”

McMillan also spoke about transportation as “a huge catalyst for economic development,” citing major public transit projects in cities including New York, Washington, Boston and Los Angeles.

“In these cities and so many others, public transit connects people to jobs, education and the many ­opportunities the communities present,” she said. “In continuing to do that, transit agencies have to imagine and plan forward-looking projects, which is ­difficult with the uncertainty we all face at the federal level.”

She noted her participation in a Stand Up 4 Transportation event in Philadelphia, saying, “Your voices were heard. Your continued advocacy work is indispensable and cannot stop” without an authorization bill in place beyond the end of July. She reiterated the importance of the administration’s GROW AMERICA Act proposal, which would increase public transit spending by 76 percent above Fiscal Year 2015 levels. “That level of commitment, or something close to it, will help us meet demand while closing the current funding gap for system repairs and replacements.”

Luncheon General Session: Boston vs. New York for Nation’s First Subway
When Bob Prince and Chris Boylan took the stage during the Luncheon General Session to talk about The Race Underground, a new book on the rivalry between Boston and New York City to build America’s first subway, they brought their knowledge of the ­cities’ systems today and how each could increase and improve services—if, they said, there was enough money.

But first, it’s important to note, both were wearing robes over their suits and bright red boxing gloves, doing a little faux sparring in front of host Doug Most, author of The Race Underground.

“Pity the fool,” Prince snapped at Boylan, and the audience roared with laughter.

Boylan, representing New York City, is a member-at-large of the APTA Executive Committee and director of government and strategic partnerships at the General Contractors Association of New York. He formerly worked at the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Prince, representing Boston, is a vice president of AECOM and a former general manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

Most, a journalist who has lived in New York and now Boston, has written the history of the building of both subway systems and acknowledges a fascination with the subject.

“It’s easy to forget how much people love and appreciate what public transit does for them. To imagine life without it is impossible.”

The Race Underground carefully details the work of inventors such as Thomas Edison; Frank Sprague, who created the electric motor that one day would power subway cars; William Barclay Parsons, the engineer behind New York’s subway; and others who spent years, fortunes and sometimes their lives to get the trains safely on the track.

Today, Prince and Boylan agreed, the issue is money—and dreams. So what, Most asked, would these dream projects look like?

“I’d like to see the Northeast Corridor done,” Prince said. “High-speed rail to get those people to Boston quicker.”
Most also asked them about the progress that has been made and what should be done in the future.
Prince said Boston trains its firefighters, police and EMTs on actual equipment, so the city took over an old tunnel and built the facility to do so.

“We don’t forget how important safety is in our industry,” he said. “Somebody makes a mistake and you won’t be home for dinner.”

Boylan, citing Most’s book, said New York has a number of “doers. In my limited knowledge of history, I thought it was one or two people that built the New York subway.” Instead, there were countless “doers who didn’t let the obstacles get in their way, who just kept on rolling.”

Added Prince, “In the transit industry, look at the men and women who bring service every day, despite the lack of funding for repairs. They’re under the gun 24/7. It’s a lot of pressure. I salute them.”

Most also asked about the effects of weather on cities. The book references a 1888 blizzard that killed hundreds of people on the East Coast. It was the worst natural disaster in American history at that time and it prompted city officials to recalibrate everything, including the advantages of building an underground subway.

For Boston, last winter’s blizzards “shut down the system,” Prince said. “In four days, we were running again. You can’t stop.” For New York, it was Hurricane Sandy, which swept up the East Coast in 2012.

So, Most asked, what’s up now?
Both Prince and Boylan said sharing ideas with other professionals can be tough. Prince added that public transit officials “lose a lot” when travel to conferences and other systems is curtailed.

“We don’t do enough of that. Politics are in the way,” Boylan said.

Finally, Most added a baseball-trivia postscript. On Nov. 23, 1894, the Boston Beaneaters beat the New York Giants in Boston. The following day, voters passed a referendum to build the subway.

Two years later, on Sept. 1, 1897, the subway was finished. New York’s subway opened on Oct. 27, 1904.

AECOM sponsored the luncheon.

Applying International Best Practices
Benchmarking successful funding and financing mechanisms and international best practices that can be applied to U.S. public transit systems were at the center of discussions at the Closing General Session.

Michael A. Allegra, member, APTA Executive Committee, and president/CEO, Utah Transit Authority, and APTA Chief of Staff Petra Mollet moderated the session.

Mollet discussed APTA’s robust international program, particularly the first week-long study mission attended by 15 members from small, medium and large public transit systems. The dele­gation recently visited London, Stockholm and Munich to meet with city and regional representatives, public transit professionals, elected leaders and real estate developers. (See Passenger Transport, June 15, for details.)

AECOM Vice President Angela Iannuzziello, member, APTA Executive Committee, and immediate past chair, Business Member Board of Governors, led the delegation. She noted that benchmarking funding and financing plans was a large part of the mission, which she said had “unprecedented value” to participants.

“Benchmarking successful funding and financing mechanisms and how they are transferrable to the North American market were the topics of the agenda of the mission. The focus,” she added, was “to identify the cultural, political and structural factors that would impact how applicable these were to the North American public transit agencies.” What they learned, she said, was that “we are all facing very similar transit development issues and there are many tools available to us.”

Laurent Dauby, director of knowledge and membership services department, UITP (International Association of Public Transport) in Belgium, spoke about his organization’s initiative with the goal of doubling transit market share by 2025.

Launched in 2009, the initiative is aimed at energizing the sector around one strategic horizon. “It’s good for the planet, people and productivity.” Investment in public transportation “is not cheap but the cost of no transit in not an option,” he said.

Alexander Barron, associate director and metro benchmarking manager, Railway and Transport Strategy Centre, London, said the more than 70 transit operators in his benchmarking group spend $60 billion annually on operations, “largely using scarce public funds.”

He encouraged public transit agencies to be open to new ideas and to look at what has worked and has not worked. “You can’t manage what you can’t measure,” he said. 


 UTA's Michael A. Allegra; Petra Mollet, APTA chief of staff; Angela Iannuzziello, AECOM vice president, Canada; Laurent Dauby, UITP, Belgium; and Alexander Barron, Railway and Transport Strategy Centre, London, discuss international best practices.

Public Transit in Utah on Fast Forward

In celebrating Utah’s recent record of enhancing public transit, speakers at the conference’s Host Forum emphasized one point: More must be done and fast.

Making that happen means cooperation, long-range planning and the ability to look into the future and make decisions that will enhance Utah residents’ ability to get around in a state whose population is increasing.

Such a plan is already in place, said Andrew Gruber, executive director of the Wasatch Front Regional Council. “What the plan does is to bring everybody together statewide—comprehensive and balanced—adding new capacity while tending to what we have now,” he said. Now, capital investments are necessary to keep the system in good repair and make decisions for the best use of those investments.

That’s been the case in recent years, when the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) and its allies extended TRAX, said Steve Meyer, UTA’s chief development officer. That effort, he said, finished two years ahead of schedule and $300 million under budget, due to “shared visions and partnerships.”

The Salt Lake Valley is home to slightly more than a million people; a total of 1.7 million live along the ­Wasatch Front, which runs along an 80-mile stretch from Ogden to Provo. Further, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker noted that the city’s population doubles during working hours. “Moving people is important to us,” he said.

Among the public transit corridors that Becker prizes is the North Temple Boulevard, once a car/pedestrian-only route that led to the airport. Today, it is a “multimodal corridor, a truly complete street” with TRAX, cars and trucks, bicycles and pedestrians.

The mayor, himself an avid bicyclist, also praised UTA’s streetcar, which runs from the north-south TRAX line to Sugar House, transforming that once-aging community. “The potential of the area was made reality,” Becker said. “But it’s only the ­beginning.”

Carlos Braceras, executive director of Utah DOT, agreed. “We need to move to more integrated transportation with collaboration, education and transparency,” he said. “Long-term goals: Improve quality of life, economic competitiveness, mobility and accessibility, safety and environmental sustainability.”

All in all, Utah has a vision and a plan to make all that happen, and fast.

The session was sponsored by Parametrix Inc.


UTA Chief Capital Development Officer Steve Meyer leads a discussion with the agency's federal, state and city partners on the future of public transportation in the grater Salt Lake City area.


Four APTA Members Win Safety & Security Gold Awards

APTA Chair Phillip Washington recognized the four recipients of the 2015 APTA Rail Safety & Security Excellence Awards ­during the June 22 Opening ­General Session.

“As priorities, safety and security grow more important by the day. Safety underpins every decision we make, every action we take and every mile we travel,”  ­Washington said. “And we are all learning more—and doing more—to keep our ­systems secure from extreme weather, online attacks, criminal activity and other dangerous situations.”

APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy said, “This year’s winners are examples of why public transportation continues to be among the safest mode of travel for people as they go about their daily commute.

“I am honored to celebrate with these dedicated individuals who exemplify our industry’s commitment to safety and security. These transit systems have developed new approaches, harnessed new technologies and established best practices to proactively prevent crashes and incidents that ultimately result in reducing injuries and saving lives.”

APTA presented four Gold Awards: one for light rail and streetcar systems, two for heavy rail and one for commuter rail:

Gold Award for Safety, light rail and streetcar: Regional Transportation District, Denver;
Gold Award for Safety, heavy rail systems: Maryland Transit Administration, Baltimore;
Gold Award for Security, heavy rail systems: MTA New York City Transit;
Gold Award for Security, commuter rail: MTA Long Island Rail Road.

For more information, visit and go to Resource Library.

Melaniphy, far left, and Washington, far right, present awards to winning ­agencies. (MTA New York City Transit was not in attendance.)


 Regional Transportation District, Denver


 Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Long Island Rail Road


  Maryland Transit Administration, Baltimore

UTA†Wins Top Rodeo Team Achievement Award

Teams from 17 North American rail transit systems competed June 17-21 in the 2015 APTA International Rail Rodeo, immediately preceding the Rail Conference in Salt Lake City.

“This competition was a great display of the skills our rail operators and maintainers employ every day to keep America’s railcars well maintained and operated with safety in mind,” said APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy. “I applaud all of this year’s winners for being the very best of the best.”

All rodeo participants were honored at a gala awards banquet June 21. In addition to the top honors, APTA also recognized winners of individually ­sponsored awards.

The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) received the Rail Rodeo Team Achievement Award, presented to the team with the highest combined score. Team ­members were mechanics Jody ­Fairbourn, Richard Klein and David Wright and operators Logan Packer and JoAnne Sloan.

The San Francisco Area Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) team of Gary Crandell, Edward Christian and Dan Parris took first place in the maintenance competition, with Philadelphia’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) team of Gary Geyer, Cameron Massaro and Dan Compton in second and Ezequiel Garcia, Marcos Martinez and Jose L. Padillo, representing Los Angeles Metro, third. The competition judges the ability to troubleshoot maintenance problems.

Among operators, Ricky Church and Victoria Jenkins of Hampton Roads Transit (HRT), Hampton, VA, placed first, followed by UTA’s Packer and Sloan in second place and Boston’s Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) operators Anthony Atkinson and Joseph Lynch in third. This competition measures professional skills, including train operation, knowledge of safety regulations, train equipment and track right-of-way rules and procedures. 

The five-day rodeo program also included training sessions and workshops and provided opportunities for competitors to share and network. The competition was held at UTA’s Jordan River Rail Service Center.

More information about the rodeo, including score sheets, are at

UTA won the Rail Rodeo Team Achievement Award, the event's top honor.

San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit District, the first-place team in the maintenance competition.


Hampton Roads Transit (VA) took first place in the operators' competition.

2015 Rail Conference Photos

More than 1,200 rail industry leaders attended APTA’s Rail Conference in Salt Lake City, June 21-24, an event that featured General Sessions, educational programs, technical forums, the Products & Services Showcase, awards presentations, committee meetings, the International Rail Rodeo and a welcome reception held by LTK Engineering Services and APTA business members.  Photos by Steve Barrett Photography


Feinberg: FRA Must Enforce PTC Deadline

FRA Acting Administrator Sarah Feinberg said that safe rail systems require PTC’s full implementation in testimony she provided at a June 24 hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials, chaired by Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA).

“FRA will enforce the Dec. 31, 2015, deadline for implementation, as mandated by Congress. If PTC is not fully implemented by Jan. 1, 2016, we can and should expect there to be accidents in the months and years to follow that PTC could have prevented,” Feinberg said, calling PTC “arguably the single most important railroad safety technological development in more than a century.”

Feinberg added that FRA does not have the authority to extend the deadline. Congress would have to pass legislation doing so.

Feinberg also said that starting Jan. 1, 2016, FRA will impose penalties on railroads that have not fully implemented PTC. “Fines will be based on FRA’s PTC penalty guidelines, which establish different penalties depending on the violation. There are many potential ­violations, such as $15,000 to $25,000 fine for failure to equip locomotives.

“The penalties may be assessed per violation, per day and might be raised or lowered depending on mitigating or aggravating factors. The total amount of penalty each railroad faces will depend upon the amount of implementation progress the railroad has made.”

She noted that FRA will also use enforcement tools to ensure rail systems implement PTC on “the fastest schedule possible,” including emergency orders, additional civil penalties and compliance orders and agreements, among others.

Several subcommittee members expressed concern at the hearing that fines would be counterproductive to PTC implementation.

She also noted that many rail system officials have stated publicly that numerous significant challenges remain in implementation, adding that the GROW AMERICA Act proposes that “Congress provide FRA with additional authorities that would address the safety gap that will exist for many railroads between Jan. 1, 2016, and full PTC implementation. The department requested these new authorities to allow FRA to review, approve and require interim safety measures for individual railroads that may fail to meet the PTC deadline.”

Donald Orseno, executive director/­chief executive officer of Metra in ­Chicago, also testified at the hearing, citing progress in implementing PTC but noting the specific challenges facing his commuter rail system, which operates seven different types of locomotives and cab cars.

Among those challenges is “the ­limited number of firms that can ­provide signal design services and the limited expertise available to accelerate design and deployment,” said Orseno, also chair of the APTA Commuter Rail Committee.

“There is also the need for every railroad’s system to be interoperable with other railroads. That is a huge challenge in Chicago, which has a complicated railroad network” and is “the only commuter rail agency in the United States with such a high level of integration with freight railroads.”

Regarding costs, Orseno said implementation may cost Metra more than $350 million, funded “using the same federal and state sources that we use for other critical infrastructure projects.” He said Metra is currently targeting 2019 for PTC to be fully implemented and interoperable.

The Southern California Regional Rail Authority (Metrolink) is operating PTC in revenue service demonstration across the 341 miles of rail the system owns and intends to be in compliance by the end of the year, ­Russell Kerwin, deputy project manager of PTC for the authority, testified before the subcommittee.

“Full build-out and testing of Metrolink’s PTC infrastructure was completed over the past five years,” he said, “including PTC onboard equipment installed and tested on all 109 locomotives and cab cars, all antennas, wayside interface units and PTC radios are installed and operational, a robust communication network is installed and a new hardened Dispatch and Operations Center was constructed and is now operational.”

Kerwin also noted that Metrolink is working with its rail partners—BNSF, UPRR, Amtrak and North County Transit District—to ensure implementation of PTC throughout the region.

Denham provided introductory remarks. “From the beginning, the PTC mandate was going to be a daunting undertaking,” he said. “Consider that when completely implemented, PTC will require 38,000 wayside interfaces, 18,000 locomotives to be upgraded and 12,000 signals will need to be replaced.”

Find More
APTA has communicated on several occasions that funding and spectrum acquisition are the chief barriers to PTC implementation. Learn more at

For copies of all testimony, go to and search on the name of the subcommittee.


KCATA Approves Agreement To Manage New Service

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) Board of Commissioners voted June 24 to begin managing public transit services for Independence, MO, for the first time since 2012.

The Independence City Council earlier approved the agreement, effective July 1, which integrates the city’s paratransit service into the KCATA system and adds the city’s IndeBus to its regional call center.

Independence will pay KCATA $685,000 to manage the city’s public transit services. The authority entered into a similar agreement with Johnson County, the most populous county in Kansas, in December 2014 as part of a regional effort to build an interconnected public transit network connecting people to economic opportunity.

KCATA President and Chief Executive Officer Joe Reardon called the contract “a real win-win for the citizens of Independence as well as for the entire region.”

New Leadership Named

Passenger Transport reports on new leadership in the public transportation industry.

COMTO, Moses

The Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) has named Mioshi James Moses its president and chief executive officer, effective July 1. The former head of COMTO, Julie Cunningham, died in 2014.

Moses most recently served as vice president and chief operating officer of Leadership Greater Washington. Earlier she was executive director of Jack and Jill of America Inc. and a consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. She holds a Juris Doctor degree from George Washington University Law School.

COMTO National Board Chair Robert Prince called Moses “a visionary leader … [who] brings a wealth of transformative leadership experience to the position.”

Mann, GoTriangle

GoTriangle, Research Triangle Park, NC, has named Jeff Mann its general manager, succeeding David King. Mann is a ­deputy secretary with North Carolina DOT who will join ­GoTriangle in late July. Before joining NCDOT in 2014, he worked for Amtrak, Parsons Brinckerhoff and the N.C. Railroad Company.

Boyce, Ben Franklin Transit

The Board of Directors of Ben Franklin Transit (BFT), Richland, WA, has named Gloria Boyce interim general manager.

She previously served as the agency’s administrative services manager. Prior to her appointment at BFT, Boyce served as director of capital programs coordination and reporting at the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (Houston METRO) and various positions with the Sacramento Regional Transit District, including director of finance/treasury and chief financial officer.

Boyce succeeds Dennis Solensky, who previously was the general manager of Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority.

Cruz-Aedo, Interim at CCRTA
Jorge Cruz-Aedo, an employee of the Corpus Christi (TX) Regional Transportation Authority since 2009, has been named the agency’s interim chief executive officer following the resignation of Scott Neeley.

Cruz-Aedo has 36 years of experience, including tenures as director of administration for the city of Houston and Corpus Christi assistant city manager. He opened a facilities management operation in Corpus Christi and is a former president of the Government Finance Officers Association in Texas and Arizona.

Lynchburg Station Goes Platinum

The Greater Lynchburg (VA) ­Transit Company’s Kemper Street ­Transfer Station has been awarded LEED Platinum certification, making it one of a few so-rated public transit ­facilities on the east coast.

The station, which opened last June, features state-of-the-art design and multimodal connectivity. “I am so proud of the accomplishments of GLTC in obtaining this status,” said General Manager Josh Baker.

“It reflects our ongoing mission to provide top quality service to our customers in an environmentally responsible and sustainable way. This award reflects the hard work of all those involved in the development and construction of the facility from start to finish, and ultimately serves to better the lives of residents and visitors of the city of Lynchburg and surrounding areas,” he said. “Long-term benefits of this facility achieving this status will likely reflect significant cost savings for operations and ultimately a much smaller carbon footprint for the facility.”

The station’s sustainability design features recognized in the LEED certification include site selection and design, the use of locally sourced materials, water conservation practices and storm water management, electric vehicle system integration, photovoltaic power systems, enhanced indoor air quality, lighting and high performance HVAC systems

Industry Briefs

The following news items briefly recap some recent news, events and activities in public transportation.

Spheros North America Opens Tulsa Facility — Spheros North America (SNA) recently opened a new bus air conditioning installation facility in Tulsa, OK. The 36,000-square-foot building can accommodate up to 25 buses, along with a parts department and office space.

AVTA Gets People to Job Interviews — The Antelope Valley Transit Authority, Lancaster, CA, (AVTA) entered into a partnership with L.A. County 211 and the county Department of Social Services to provide curb-to-curb trips for area residents traveling to job interviews. The program was initially funded through a three-year, $550,000 federal grant to AVTA and subsequently was supplemented by L.A. County 211 funds to improve transportation for residents seeking employment in the area.

How Hot Is It? — The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) has launched a campaign to help its riders beat the heat. The campaign features a poster and three simple tips to stay cool and safe during the Las Vegas summers, which can often exceed 100 degrees in July and August: Travel with plenty of water, arrive at a bus stop no more than 10 minutes before a bus’s scheduled stop and protect exposed skin with hats, umbrellas and sunscreen.

Centro’s New Fareboxes — The Central New York Regional Transportation Authority (Centro) recently introduced new GFI Odyssey Plus fareboxes to replace its 18-year-old farebox system and to provide its riders with greater payment flexibility. The new fareboxes have a display screen that shows customers how many rides remain on their pass and will verbally alert customers when their passes have expired or they have run out of rides. “These new fareboxes will make the riding experience of the Centro customer easier and more convenient,” said Steve Koegel, vice president of business development and corporate communications.

Safety on the Rails — Chicago-based commuter rail agency Metra received more than 4,800 entries from elementary and secondary school students for “Unplug for Safety, Look Listen Live,” its 2015 Safety Poster and Essay Contest, an initiative now in its ninth year. “Electronic distractions are a part of all our lives but not being aware of our surroundings can have serious consequences, especially near railroad tracks,” said Metra Executive Director and CEO Don Orseno. The agency selected first, second and third-place winners from each grade level. First-place poster and essay winners receive an iPad and ­second- and third-place poster winners receive $250 and $100 gift cards.

Safety on the Streets — San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee recently announced WalkFirst, the city’s effort to improve pedestrian safety, and “Be Nice, Look Twice,” a trilingual multimedia campaign that addresses safety messages and illegal behaviors. “Any pedestrian death or serious injury is one too many,” Lee said. “By looking out for each other and by driving more slowly and carefully, we can make a big difference in improving safety for people walking in San Francisco.”


Rail Travelís Future: Riding through Italy

APTA Director of Publications

In the opening chapters of her best-selling book, Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert describes the pleasures of food, wine and nature on a journey through Italy.  But she missed one important pleasure; had she traveled by high-speed rail, she might have added the verb “Ride” to her title.

In a country known for producing works that appeal to all of the senses dating back to the Renaissance, railcar manufacturer Alstom Transport has set a new standard—in speed, convenience and luxury.

On a recent summer press sojourn from Milan to Bologna, I had the ­pleasure of riding through the 15th-century Lombardy countryside on the newest 21st-century train technology—the Alstom AGV (Automotrice Grande Vitesse) .italo.

From sipping my first cappuccino in a plush leather seat (manufactured by the same company that supplies Ferrari) to the whisper-smooth 40-minute trip at 300 k/ph (186 mph), I knew I was ­experiencing the future of public transit.

The first AGV .italo trains began commercial service in 2012. Today they offer 50 connections among such ­popular destinations as Rome, ­Florence, Bologna, Padova, Venice, Ancona, Milan, Turin, Naples and Salerno. Thanks to AGV, Italy’s major population centers are no more than three hours apart.

Traveling at 300 k/ph, safety is ­integral to AGV’s basic design. Take the articulated trainset architecture: Each car shares a bogie (or chassis) with the adjacent car, creating a semi-rigid link between coaches. In addition to providing less noise and vibration, this innovative design limits the risk of derailments. In the event an accident does occur, the train is devised to stay intact and not create a pile-up.

The AGV was conceived to lower operating costs by saving energy and reducing the need for maintenance. Its aerodynamic design and low mass allow the train to use 20 to 30 percent less fuel than other trains and to generate 70 times less CO2 emissions than an airliner, making for an exceptional, environmentally-friendly method of travel.

The AGV trains are assembled in Alstom’s Savigliano (Italy) and La Rochelle (France) facilities. This may explain why la dolce vita (the sweet life) or la joie de la vie (the joy of life) of rail travel was not an afterthought. Passenger amenities include free Wi-Fi, intelligently-placed power sockets, at-seat catering service and vending machines, private lounges, leather-covered walls for comfort and privacy and one car dedicated to persons with reduced mobility.

In 2014, more than 4.5 million passengers traveled on AGV .italo trains, definitive proof of their popularity. Clearly, taking the AGV .italo isn’t just about getting from one place to another more efficiently; rather, it’s a moveable feast of experiences that one wants to enjoy again and again.

It’s impossible to ride the Alstom AGV .italo and not feel like Angelina Jolie in The Tourist or Daniel Craig in Casino Royale. For an American like me, it was an extraordinary glimpse of how public transportation can marry old-world style with new-world technology. So, move over Prada bag, Armani tux, Hermes perfume, the Alstom AGV .italo is Italy’s and France’s newest influential export, but one that everyone can appreciate.




 High-speed travel at 300 k/ph.

 Plush leather seats provide a luxurious experience for passengers.

 The Alstom AGV .italo departs the station.



Nominations for APTA Executive Committee and Board Now Open

APTA Chair Phillip Washington has appointed the nominating committee that will recommend individuals to fill APTA leadership positions to the membership for approval at the APTA Annual Business Meeting and Election of Officers. The committee is accepting nominations through Aug. 10.

The slate of nominees selected by the committee will stand for election at the annual business meeting and election, noon, Saturday, Oct. 3 in San Francisco.

APTA will hold the meeting and ­election just prior to the start of the Annual Meeting. This will allow the newly elected board to begin its term and its work immediately following the election. Members and prospective members of the board will kick off the day with training in the morning, with the election held at noon and a full working session right after.

APTA electronically mailed a nomination packet to all members on June 29. Components of the packet include the nominating committee roster, the list of officer and director positions to be filled, directions on accessing this year’s nomination and authorization form and a form to appoint a proxy for any member unable to be represented at the annual business meeting.

APTA continues to streamline and improve the nominating process. Consistent with APTA’s sustainability commitment, this year’s nominations will be submitted entirely on line. Even those letters of support that used to go out in a dozen-plus hard copies to be sure each member of the nominating committee got them will again be simplified. Those letters can simply be uploaded to the APTA website for direct, immediate delivery to the full nominating committee. All documents and easy to follow instructions are available on APTA’s website at

The APTA Executive Committee has set the following campaign guidelines to provide guidance to candidates seeking election to the APTA Board of Directors and Executive Committee:

Personal letters, e-mails, personal conversations and phone calls are acceptable campaign strategies;

Campaign events and distribution of campaign materials are not permitted during or in conflict with any APTA meeting or conference event. Campaigning may occur before or after an APTA meeting or conference event; and

APTA staff members or other APTA resources are not to play any role in campaign activities.
Direct questions regarding the election process, the election guidelines and eligibility requirements to Jim LaRusch at (202) 496-4808 or Register for the Annual Meeting at

Nominating Committee Members
The members of the nominating committee, appointed in accordance with the APTA bylaws and approved by the APTA Executive Committee, are:

Chair: Peter Varga, chief executive officer, The Rapid, Grand Rapids, MI;
Bill Carpenter, chief executive officer, Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority, Rochester, NY;
Joseph M. Casey, general manager, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), Philadelphia;
Lydia C. Grose, director of engineering and design civil engineering, SEPTA;
Angela Iannuzziello, vice president, Canada National Transit Market Sector Lead, AECOM, Markham, ON;
Thomas C. Lambert, chief executive officer, Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Houston;
Neil S. McFarlane, general manager, Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon, Portland;
Diana C. Mendes, senior vice president-director, Americas Transit, AECOM, Arlington, VA;
Raquel Olivier, president, Olivier Inc., Dallas;
Nicholas E. Promponas, senior vice president, First Transit, Inc., Tempe, AZ;
Leanne P. Redden, executive director, Regional Transportation Authority, Chicago;
Joseph E. Reed, vice president of alternative delivery, Balfour Beatty Infrastructure, Inc., West Covina, CA;
Janet S. Rogers, vice president, Stacy and Witbeck, Inc., Alameda, CA;
Jonnie L. Thomas, chief executive officer, Triunity Engineering & Management Inc., Denver;
Jeff Walker, secretary, Regional Transportation District, Denver;
Eve Williams, president/chief executive officer, Dikita Engineering, Dallas; and
Maxine Wortham, vice chair, board of trustees & chairperson of program development, Greater Peoria Mass Transit District, IL



APTA Signs Agreement with Spanish Group

During the recent Rail Conference, Eduardo Romo, left, president, Fundación Caminos de Hierro, and APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy signed a Memorandum of Understanding between their organizations. Fundación Caminos de Hierro is a Spanish nonprofit dedicated to research into the field of engineering and railway technology.

APTA Receives National Awards

APTA recently received two Association Media & Publishing (AM&P) EXCEL Awards, the largest and most prestigious award program that exclusively recognizes excellence and leadership in nonprofit association media, publishing, marketing and communications, and Passenger Transport specifically received three APEX Awards of Excellence from Communications Concepts.

AM&P’s EXCEL Awards: Passenger Transport won the gold award in the Newspaper Feature Articles category for “Pace Sets the Pace,” which examined how service, partnerships and technology keep Pace Suburban Bus, Arlington Heights, IL, efficient and growing through innovation.

The association also received AM&P’s ­silver award for its direct mail piece—the 2015 APTA ­Conference Schedule.

Passenger Transport’s three APEX Awards recognized the Jan. 13, 2014 issue, which featured information from many APTA members regarding their plans for the year ahead; “Fit for Duty,” an article in the Sept. 8, 2014, issue about employee wellness programs at the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority and other agencies; and the special publication to celebrate 100 years of safety and security in ­recognition of APTA’s centennial anniversary of its safety and security initiative.

In addition, APTA received a “Telly” Award for its video, “The Voices for Public Transit.” APTA was selected in the political advocacy area for this national award.


 APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy and the Communications and Marketing team led by Vice President Rose Sheridan celebrate APTA's recent awards at a gala in Washington, DC.


APTA Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Dump the Pump

APTA Intern

It was a day of conservation on June 18, “Dump the Pump Day,” when public transportation systems and other groups across the U.S. promoted using transit instead of driving cars.

APTA reported that a record number of organizations participated in the event—176 public transit agencies and 46 other groups.

“Anytime we can have an oppor­tunity to get the word out to encourage people to take public transit, I am a huge supporter of anyone that wants that,” said Shirley Harris, president of the San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans) Board of Directors in San Carlos, CA. “That’s what Dump the Pump is all about.”

SamTrans held several activities that day, hosting a photo booth and a social media promotion through Twitter. Users of the #dumpthepump hashtag were eligible to win a branded messenger bag.

“Customers who tweeted the ­photos using the photo booth got to put their names in a raffle and that gave them the chance to win the messenger bag,” Harris said.

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) held its third annual scavenger hunt for Dump the Pump Day, with 39 four-to-six-person teams.

“[The scavenger hunt] gives them the opportunity to explore their city with MARTA,” said Director of Marketing Jennifer Jinadu. “We kept most of [the hunt] the same. We used modifications from the participants for feedback on the scavenger hunt in order to keep them engaged.”

Another creative idea, from the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority (GDRTA), was a “breakup” with gasoline through text messages along with free rides on the transit system.

“We focused on kind of a fun way to get the information out there,” said Nathan Owens, GDRTA ridership developer and marketing analyst. “We were hoping that the [free rides] would encourage people to ride transit. There is never an easier way to try transit than when it’s free.”

Jinadu is proud of the successful results that Dump the Pump Day produced in Atlanta. “It’s a lot of logistical work on the back end,” she said. “Just getting feedback from the teams and them exploring the city and MARTA having a key part in that makes all the effort worthwhile.”

Learn more about Dump the Pump Day at




 The Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority encouraged riders to "break up with driving" with a text.

 IndyGo launched a month-long campaign of events and prizes, including winning free rides for a year and bikeshare  memberships.

 SamTrans offered riders a chance to put themselves in the bus operator's seat in a special photo booth.



Meet Stephen E. Schlickman!

Meet Stephen E. Schlickman
Urban Transportation Center
University of Illinois at Chicago 

Member, Legislative, Sustainability, Public-Private Partnerships, and Human Resources committees; member, Higher Education Subcommittee 

Please describe your organization’s scope. The Urban Transportation Center (UTC) is a research center at the University of ­Illinois at Chicago. UTC is part of the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs and one of the top 10 research centers at the entire university. UTC conducts research, supports education and provides technical help on urban transportation planning, policy, operations and management. We do sponsored research on topics that run the gamut—planning to finance, data analysis, ridership studies—all aimed at emphasizing the immediate impact of good research on some of the industry’s urgent challenges. Sponsored research means that organizations hire us or we get grants to conduct this work.

What drew you to a career in the public transportation industry?
I’ve been at the center since 2010, and I’ve been engaged in transit for more than 35 years. My last job was running the Chicago Regional Transportation ­Authority (RTA). When I graduated from Georgetown University, jobs were scarce so I took a job driving a bus for the university—the Georgetown University ­Transportation Shuttle—GUTS, one of Washington, DC’s best acronyms, according to ­Washingtonian magazine!

It was a student operated system, and I quickly moved on to a management role. I also had a ­summer job working in the Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation. I took a few years off to go to law school. After I graduated, I realized I wanted to get back into transit. I was able to combine my undergraduate education, experience driving a bus, time in the secretary’s office and law degree in ways that really meshed with that goal. I found my dream job setting up a legislative office for the Chicago Transit Authority here in Chicago. (I’m a Chicago native.) I’ve been involved with public transit in one way or another ever since.

Please note what’s rewarding about your involvement with APTA.
I’ve been involved in APTA almost every year of my career. I consider myself a “career member.” I think that public transit professionals have to be involved with APTA. It provides an important forum for us to help determine national strategies. Plus, APTA is not a “vanilla organization,” where everyone is the same. Public transit organizations come in all types of modes, different sizes and with varying missions. APTA gives us the opportunity to meet with people in similar organizational ­situations. This kind of exposure and networking has enabled me to develop my professional network of peers and colleagues in such “legacy cities” as New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and others. APTA is so important in helping to aggregate similar systems while keeping all of us working together for the good of the entire industry.

What have you found to be the most valuable APTA benefit or resource?
In addition to the peer-to-peer connections I mentioned, I’ve also been a longtime member of the Legislative Committee. Because the focus of my career is on helping find funding and financing for public transit—among other challenges—being involved with the Legislative Committee and its robust approaches to issues has been invaluable. In addition, as a result of my APTA connections, I helped create a number of independent national coalitions of public transit systems organized around their unique characteristics or issues. In those cases, I always felt we needed to keep ­ourselves under the APTA umbrella so we were connected to the broader industry and contributing to it.

What do you like most about your career?
Being able to apply my educational background and training—from my under-graduate work to my law degree—and combining all these areas together makes me more effective in an industry I thoroughly enjoy. Growing up, I had no idea I would be in this field. But once you get engaged, it really grows on you. Even after I retire, I’ll still be involved in the industry in some manner as a way to stay engaged and be a contributor.

What would readers be surprised to learn about your organization?

The center is not just focused on research. It has a goal of contributing to student education. In virtually every research project we do, we employ at least one student as a research assistant. Many go on to work in public transit. The professional ranks of Chicago area transit agencies in particular include many of our students and many have moved on to prominent positions in the industry.


Meet Michael Fimmano!

Meet Michael Fimmano
Government Affairs Department

What are the job elements you focus on the most—your primary responsibilities?

As a legislative analyst, one main focus of my job is to track federal legislation and regulatory changes that could impact the public transportation industry. This often means I follow the actions of congressional committees with jurisdiction over issues of interest to APTA, along with specific members of Congress who like to champion our issues.

Members of the Government Affairs staff monitor congressional hearings and communicate information from some of these hearings to the APTA membership. We will reach out to APTA ­members, asking them to actively engage with their members of Congress about specific causes such as long-term sustainable funding for public transportation—especially if their representatives are on specific important committees.

I also help prepare testimony on behalf of APTA, draft Legislative Alerts and other communications to the ­membership, research transportation policy and meet with congressional staff to help advocate for APTA’s interests.

Tell us about recent interactions you’ve had with APTA members.
One project I am currently working on involves engaging business members, encouraging them to contact their members of Congress and make the business case for public transit spending in states that aren’t thought of as transit-heavy—highlighting manu­facturing jobs and suppliers to the industry. We want to show that public transit spending does have value in many states where public transit service may not be as prevalent.
I took an active role in the operations of the APTA Legislative Conference in March. I helped with several sessions, both in the planning process and helping to organize on the day of the event. I was part of the group that briefed the speakers; we brainstormed as a team to come up with panel ideas as well as session topics.
What initiatives, projects or programs have you worked on at APTA that you have taken particular pride in completing?
I’m very pleased with our ­business member Capitol Hill fly-in last December, which we held just before the Legislative Committee meeting. It was a great success—we held 100 ­Capitol Hill meetings in one day.

We had members fly in from all around the country. Some of them knew their way around Capitol Hill; they have active government affairs teams and have had previous relationships with their members of Congress. We also had some participants who had never been to Capitol Hill before. APTA provided them with materials and set up meetings for them. As APTA staff, we introduced these business members to the priorities facing public transportation.

These business members then went on to advocate for the industry and explain how long-term transportation funding and a secure funding source would benefit the local district of their elected representatives. These meetings helped a lot of members of Congress put a face, a name and a business behind this legislation. Personal contact humanizes the issue for a lot of them, demon­strating a direct impact within their congressional districts.

This is important because thousands of bills get introduced in each Congress, hundreds of which will pass either the House or the Senate. Putting a person with a story behind our priorities is a good way to help House members and Senators understand their significance.

After the fly-in, we received great feedback from members of Congress, their staffs and the business members who participated. We also heard from many business members who had not participated but were interested in ­participating in future fly-in days.

How did you land at APTA? How long have you worked here?
I joined the staff on Nov. 3, 2014, the day before Election Day.

I graduated from college with a degree in political science and my first job, before coming to APTA, was on the staff of a member of Congress who served on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. I began as an intern and eventually worked my way up to having my own legislative portfolio, advising the congressman on certain issues that would come before the House for a vote, or the co-sponsorship of legislation that was a priority for him.
Members of committees like T&I have to focus on transportation issues, which allowed me to get involved in public transit and learn about the issues that affect the industry as a whole. Now that I’m at APTA, I see that working for lawmakers offers a different perspective from advocating for members, but both of them are incredibly rewarding.
Could you tell us something about yourself that might ­surprise us?
I actually lived in Ireland for six months. As part of my under­graduate education, I participated in a study abroad program at the National University of Ireland in Galway. I lived there with 23 other students from my school. It offered me a great opportunity to see some parts of the world I had not yet seen and to live full-time in a different culture. Because few of us were ­comfortable driving in a country we barely knew, especially on the opposite side of the road, we rode buses quite frequently while we lived in Ireland.   


Why Canít We Move? Solving Americaís Infrastructure Problems


Suffering was acute in Greater Boston this past winter. … [T]he worst blow was the shutdown of the region’s famed public transit system, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). …

Infrastructure failures can always be blamed on poor management. A panel convened by newly elected Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker pointed to financial mismanagement and governance weaknesses behind the T shutdown. But chronic underinvestment is clearly a major culprit. The MBTA, America’s first and oldest subway, has long operated with aging systems that politicians felt taxpayers were reluctant to pay to renew or reinvent.

The T’s winter shutdown is just one instance of numerous U.S. infrastructure problems that stem from a failure to invest. … By 2023, one in four U.S. bridges, which are typically designed to serve for 50 years, will be more than 65 years old.

The average American commuter wastes 38 hours a year sitting in unnecessary traffic—and undoubtedly more than that in the Northeast ­Corridor between Boston and Washington, D.C. In May 2013, a commuter train crash in Bridgeport, Connecticut, which injured 76 ­people, closed all eastbound rail traffic between New York and ­Boston. An estimated 30,000 people who normally took the train to work took to the highways instead, exacerbating already-legendary traffic jams. The problem was traced to a single broken rail, although that was just one of many trouble spots resulting from years of deferred maintenance of components dating to the late 1800s, such as overhead catenary wiring that is more than 110 years old. Upgrades have been under construction for 20 years.

It could take big bucks just to repair, let alone modernize, existing infrastructure—almost $2 trillion during the next five years, according to estimates by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Delays in every transportation mode bring costs to the economy and lost opportunities for productivity and ­quality of life … .

I discovered the mind-numbing magnitude of these problems after embarking on a nearly two-year effort to understand transportation and related communications infrastructure issues by conducting interviews and site visits across America and by convening a national leadership summit as part of the Harvard Business School U.S. Competitiveness Project … . In the 2013-14 survey, business leaders identified infrastructure as a major area in which ­America lags: 82 percent of respondents said that U.S. transportation infrastructure had not improved or was getting worse than it was three years earlier—and a majority believed it was falling behind that in other advanced economies. …

The state of transportation infrastructure touches every important societal issue: health and safety, air quality, family budgets, productivity and use of time, inequality and social mobility, the nature of cities, jobs for today and jobs for the future. Public transportation in particular, I found, is an important ride out of poverty and into the middle class if it provides access to jobs and education.

Change requires political will, public support, and private sector savvy. In the absence of a strong national will, governors and mayors are taking the lead. In Chicago, the $3.2 billion ­CREATE (Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency) Program, conceived more than a dozen years ago with a push from the business community, is building dozens of new under- and overpasses to segregate freight rail from passenger rail and vehicles, while installing a computerized control system to move trains more safely and efficiently. (The overall project remains partially completed and partially funded.) Mayor Rahm Emanuel, meanwhile, has introduced America’s first metropolitan infrastructure bank, the Chicago Infrastructure Trust, to attract private investment for vital city assets… . California Governor Jerry Brown is championing high-speed rail. Atlanta’s airport modernization is accompanied by mass-transit connections. Mayors are asking cars to move over to return streets to pedestrians, bicycles, and buses.

Experts estimate that private capital, e.g. from long-term investors such as life-insurance and pension funds, could provide as much as $2.5 trillion for infrastructure globally by 2030—and the United States could be a major beneficiary. Well-conceived and executed public-private partnerships can deliver much-needed public goods at low cost while providing attractive opportunities for private investment. …

Beyond desperately needed modernization of physical infrastructure, we must invest to take advantage of new technological opportunities to improve transportation and enhance our economic prospects … .

Finding the will for infrastructure investment requires a new national narrative. I urge a focus on mobility as essential to opportunity. Rebuilding infrastructure and reinventing it using new technologies are essential to a new American Dream for the twenty-first century. Baby boomers who enjoyed the fruits of post-World War II investments must ensure that their children and grandchildren are not left stranded by winter storms or a failure to reinvest. Leaders must inspire by invoking a higher purpose and a vision that people can endorse. We need to tell the positive stories: how regions are taking matters into their own hands, entrepreneurs are helping us innovate our way out of traffic jams, and private-sector leaders are working with public authorities for the common good.

Do we want twenty-first-century transportation and infrastructure to be people-centered, technology-enabled, environmentally friendly, opportunity-focused, safe, and efficient? Then let’s get moving.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter is Arbuckle professor of business administration and chair and director of Harvard’s Advanced Leadership Initiative. This article first appeared in the July-August 2015 issue of Harvard ­Magazine. Based on Move: Putting America’s Infrastructure Back in the Lead by ­Rosabeth Moss Kanter. Article and book copyright © 2015 by Rosabeth Moss Kanter. Reprinted and excerpted with permission of the ­publisher, W. W. ­Norton & ­Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

This “Commentary” section features different points of view from various sources to enhance readers’ broad awareness of themes and views that affect public transportation.



Who's Doing What in the Industry

Jack Gabig

Gardena, CA—Jack Gabig, transportation director of Gardena GTrans for the past five years, announced his retirement from the agency effective July 5. His transportation career has spanned more than 40 years, beginning in 1975 when he was a transportation planner with the city of Beloit, WI. In 1976, he joined McDonald Transit Associates, working in Fort Worth, TX, and Athens, GA.

Gabig moved to Long Beach Transit in California in 1980, serving as planning and marketing director and maintenance manager. Beginning in 1989, he was transportation director for Montebello Bus Lines until 2002, when he became LA Metro’s sector general manager for the San Gabriel Valley until joining GTrans in 2010.

Freddie C. Fuller II

WASHINGTON, DC—CH2M announced the hiring of Freddie C. Fuller II to lead the public transit and rail market in Virginia, Washington and Maryland through the company’s Transportation Business Group. He has more than 18 years of experience in the transportation industry. He is a graduate of the Leadership APTA Class of 1999, an at-large member of the APTA Board of Directors, vice chair of the Business Member Government Affairs Committee and a member of several other committees.

—Hill International announced the hiring of Dominick ­Fickeria as senior vice president and deputy Northeast regional manager with its Project Management Group. Fickeria has more than 35 years of experience, most recently working as director of the Construction Management Department for the New York City office of URS Corporation. 

Irvin E. Richter of Hill International Receives Lifetime Achievement Award from CMAA’s Mid-Atlantic Chapter
Also, Irvin E. Richter, the company’s founder and chairman, recently received the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Construction Management Association of America. Richter has been involved with the organization for more than 30 years as a member, board member and fellow.
HOUSTONEarl (Chip) Mitchell has joined CH2M as president of its Oil, Gas & Chemicals Business Group. He has spent the past 25 years of his career at Jacobs Engineering Group Inc., most recently as its group vice president for the upstream, midstream and pipeline business.
EUGENE, OR—Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has appointed Cottage Grove businessman Don ­Nordin to the Lane Transit District (LTD) Board of Directors, succeeding Mike Dubick. Nordin is the owner of Equinox Industries and, in the 1990s, played a leadership role in the expansion of LTD services to Cottage Grove.
COLUMBUS, OH—The Central Ohio Transit Authority announced three new members of its board of trustees. Brett Kaufman, representing Columbus, is the founder and chief executive officer of Kaufman Development, a real estate firm. Philip D. Honsey, representing Grove City, is a past city administrator who served more recently as an independent contractor for InNow LLC/Nitsa Fuels. Donald B. Leach Jr., representing Upper Arlington, is a partner in the law firm Dinsmore & Shohl LLP and president of the Upper Arlington City Council.
ALLENTOWN, PAMelissa M. Gemelli, deputy executive director and chief financial officer of the Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority, has been elected to the Professional Ethics Committee of the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
VIENNA—Kapsch CarrierCom has named David Brandauer vice president, public transit, for CarrierCom North America. Brandauer has more than 25 years of experience in public transportation, working for firms including BLIC Inc., Trapeze Group and INIT-­Innovation in Transportation Inc.
SAN DIEGOGary Gallegos, executive director of the San Diego Association of Governments, has been elected to the Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors. The coalition includes more than 60 public and private organizations dedicated to increasing federal investment in America’s intermodal freight infrastructure.
ENGLEWOOD, CORobert Kennah has joined HDR as a principal project manager based in the firm’s Englewood office. He has 20 years of experience and comes to HDR from AECOM, where he was alternative delivery capture manager.
KANSAS CITY, MOMark Huffer has joined HNTB Corporation as Kansas City transit practice leader. Huffer’s more than 35 years of public transportation experience include serving as general manager and chief executive officer of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority and employment in St. Louis, Indianapolis, Lynchburg, VA, State College, PA, and Columbus, OH.
AUSTIN, TX—Manor Mayor Rita G. Jonse is joining the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors, representing the small cities in the agency’s service area. She succeeds Dave Siebold, who served on the board since 2013 and whose term expired this month.
ISELIN, NJArthur (Artie) Silber, Northeast Corridor area manager and transportation strategies director for Hatch Mott McDonald, has been elected chairman of the Executive Committee of the Underground Construction Association of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration. Silber has more than 40 years of engineering experience and is a senior vice president of the firm. Earlier he worked 28 years for New Jersey DOT and was employed by New Jersey Transit Corporation.
NEW YORK CITY—Parsons Brinckerhoff announced the following appointments. 
In Pittsburgh, Judith Andersen was appointed assistant vice president and John A. Nicholson Jr. senior project manager. Andersen, whose previous experience includes working for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and PennDOT, will manage the Pittsburgh office.

Nicholson has more than 21 years of transportation industry experience, serving most recently as a senior engineering manager with a civil engineering consulting firm.

Matthew Shelden has been named a senior planning manager in the firm’s Seattle office. He has 26 years of experience, serving most recently as system planning manager for Sound Transit and previously with King County Metro Transit and Community Transit in ­Snohomish County, WA. He is a member of the Leadership APTA Class of 2010.
DES MOINES, IA—The Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority has named Amanda Wanke chief engagement and communications officer. She has more than 15 years of experience, serving most recently as communications director for the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute.
BROOKLYN, NYGabrielle ­Shubert has announced that she will retire as director of the New York Transit Museum in September. She was a manager in the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Art and Design program when she took on the museum job in 1991.

DETROIT—Dan Lijana has joined M-1 RAIL as its communications officer. He worked in Detroit Mayor Dave Bing’s administration for nearly three years and most recently was director of communications for the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan.
DALLAS—Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) has announced the addition of three vice presidents: Maureen McCole, vice president, commuter rail/railroad management; Garrome (Jerry) Franklin, vice president and chief safety officer, and David Schulze, vice president for policy and strategy.

McCole began her career with the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak), joining New Jersey Transit Corporation in 2004 as policy and strategic analysis manager and becoming superintendent of River Line light rail operations in 2007. 

Franklin has more than four decades of transportation-related experience. He served the Federal Aviation Administration as regional administrator and deputy associate administrator for civil aviation security and was an FTA regional administrator before he joined DART in 2006.


Schulze has worked in various attorney roles for the city of Dallas and general counsel roles for DART during the past 25 years.
PHOENIX—The Valley Metro Rail Board of Directors elected Phoenix Councilmember Thelda Williams its chair and Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell vice chair.

COLUMBUS, OH—Officials of Franklin County, OH, have appointed Trudy Bartley to the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) Board of Trustees for a term that extends until April 2017.  Bartley is the executive director of Partners Achieving Community Transformation (PACT) and assistant vice president of government affairs for Ohio State University. She serves on the boards of the Central Ohio Workforce Investment Corporation and Ohio State University Hospital East among other groups.