Passenger Transport - March 9, 2018
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A 'Golden Opportunity' for a Realistic, Forward-Looking, Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan

In advance of APTA’s 2018 Legislative Conference, March 18-20, Passenger Transport asked Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, to share his thoughts on the likelihood of an infrastructure bill to fund public transportation programs.

Q: Chairman Shuster, we know you are an advocate for restoring the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund and that you would like to see an infrastructure bill passed soon—one that provides multi-year funding stability and builds on existing FAST Act programs. What do you feel are the prospects for such a bill?

A: This is a golden opportunity to improve our nation’s infrastructure. The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and Congress have passed major legislation in recent years for our infrastructure, including the FAST Act for our highways, bridges, transit and passenger rail, as well as multiple Water Resources Development Act bills for our ports, harbors, inland waterways, flood protection and other water infrastructure. With strong presidential leadership and the will of Congress, we can build upon these recent successes to make real investments in America, strengthen the underlying framework of our economy and get something done for the American people. I am confident that we can do this, if we follow a few key principles.

First of all, we have to work together. Only a bipartisan piece of legislation will pass the 60-vote threshold in the Senate and get to the president’s desk. We have already proven this is possible. Transportation and Infrastructure Committee members have demonstrated their bipartisanship since I became chairman five years ago, and I look forward to working with Ranking Member [Peter] DeFazio [(D-OR)] and our colleagues in the House on this critical effort in the coming weeks.

My second point is that we must also be realistic. We have significant infrastructure needs across the country, from our urban centers to our small towns and rural communities. Furthermore, the federal government has a constitutional duty to provide for our infrastructure and facilitate commerce.

In order to fulfill our constitutional role with a bipartisan effort, we must realize that we will not attract Democratic support for an infrastructure plan if we don’t provide a significant federal component, and we will not attract Republican support if we do not pay for these real investments in a fiscally responsible way.

Speaking as a conservative, I firmly believe in the user-fee principle embodied in the Highway Trust Fund. In this model, only those who use the transportation system pay for the system’s upkeep. Unfortunately, because the user fee has remained unchanged for the last 25 years, the Highway Trust Fund is no longer sustainable without immediate action. Another shortfall looms just before the next presidential election in 2020. At the national level, we have to face these facts and have an honest conversation about the sustainability of the fund.

This leads me to my third point; we must look to the future in how we fund infrastructure investment. The Highway Trust Fund user fee no longer accurately reflects the current value of the dollar, the state of the industry or how people are getting from here to there.

For example, based on the value of the dollar in 1993 when the user fee was last adjusted, the fee has lost approximately 40 percent of its purchasing power. Greater fuel efficiency and growth in hybrid vehicles mean that highway users are paying less into the system per mile traveled. And with the advent of electric cars, those drivers no longer pay a dime into the Highway Trust Fund.

We have to modernize how we invest in our infrastructure for tomorrow. That includes fixing the Highway Trust Fund, exploring additional sources of revenue and taking advantage of new tools in the tool box.

If the president continues to make infrastructure a priority, as he has since before entering the White House, and if Congress can work together on a realistic, forward-looking, bipartisan plan, we can get something done. In short, if our leaders lead on infrastructure, we will be successful. That is my goal this year, and based on our track record of success in passing other infrastructure legislation, I believe we can build a 21st-century infrastructure for America.

Legislative Conference Focuses on Advocacy; FTA's Williams Among Opening Session Speakers

FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams will present the keynote address at the March 19 Opening General Session of the 2018 APTA Legislative Conference, March 18-20 at the Grand Hyatt Washington, joining APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas and APTA Chair Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. The conference for public transportation professionals will focus on topics including the administration’s infrastructure proposal and other public transportation-related issues such as state of good repair and state safety oversight programs.

Conference activities begin with committee meetings the weekend of March 17-18, followed by a Sunday afternoon “Welcome to Washington” session led by Washington Post reporters Paul Kane, senior congressional correspondent and columnist, and Ashley Parker, White House reporter.

Ed Rendell, former governor of Pennsylvania and co-chair of Building America’s Future Educational Fund, will launch Monday’s activities at “The ‘Insider’ Perspective for the Transit Industry,” a sit-down breakfast sponsored by the APTA Business Member Activity Fund.

The Monday mid-morning General Session, “The Transit Coalition: Partners in Surface Transportation Advocacy,” brings together representatives of APTA’s coalition partners in surface transportation advocacy to discuss their goals regarding additional federal infrastructure investment. Speakers are Ed Mortimer, executive director, Americans for Transportation Mobility Coalition, and executive director, transportation infrastructure, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Jim Tymon, chief operating officer/director of policy and management, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials; Sean O’Neill, vice president, congressional relations and infrastructure advancement, Associated General Contractors of America; Kevin McCarty, assistant executive director, U.S. Conference of Mayors; and Dean Franks, senior vice president, congressional relations, American Road and Transportation Builders Association.

Perennial favorite the Capitol Steps will present their musical political satire at the General Luncheon that day, followed by a General Session focusing on FTA efforts and the “View from the Hill” General Session, which brings together key congressional staff representing House and Senate committees responsible for public transportation authorizing, appropriations and rail legislation.

Members of Congress speaking at the “Get Started with Members of Congress” breakfast session Tuesday, March 20, include Reps. Peter DeFazio, ranking member, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (T&I), and Earl Blumenauer, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee (both D-OR); T&I member Rodney Davis (R-IL); Sam Graves (R-MO), chair of the T&I Subcommittee on Highways and Transit; and Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development.
The afternoon schedule is open to allow conference attendees to make visits to Capitol Hill, with a Capitol Hill Reception from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

APTA encourages its members to share information with their members of Congress that emphasizes the importance of federal public transportation in strengthening local and the national economies and advocate for transit’s continued growth and enhancement. Further, public transit must be part of any proposal to increase infrastructure investment.

Following the conference, APTA reminds members to maintain their contacts with elected officials in Washington, DC, and in their home districts.

APTA Applauds Senate Democrats' Infrastructure Plan

APTA announced its approval of the “Senate Democrats’ Jobs & Infrastructure Plan for American Workers” on March 7, following the release of the statement earlier that day.

APTA recognized the plan’s “comprehensive proposal for significant new investment in the nation’s infrastructure, including public transportation,” that would “support substantial improvements in the nation’s public transportation and intercity passenger rail systems, helping to bring those systems into a state of good repair.”

The statement also noted that the Senate Democrats’ plan would restore solvency to the Highway Trust Fund.

Find the complete text of the statement at the APTA website.

McCarragher to Join APTA as Government Affairs VP

APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas has named Ward W. McCarragher as the association’s next vice president-­government affairs, succeeding Rob Healy who is retiring. McCarragher’s first day at APTA will be April 2, but he will be in attendance at APTA’s Legislative Conference in ­Washington, DC.

McCarragher has worked as majority/minority chief counsel for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for the past 20 years, currently serving Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR). Prior to that, he was ­minority counsel for the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and the House T&I Subcommittee on Economic Development and Public Buildings.

In these roles, he was directly involved in negotiating, drafting and supporting each of the public transit titles of the surface transportation legislation over the past 25 years, starting with TEA-21 and up to and including the FAST Act.

Healy will remain at APTA through May to ensure a smooth transition.

CATS Cuts Ribbon for LYNX Blue Line Extension

In anticipation of the March 16 launch of service for the light rail LYNX Blue Line Extension (BLE), the Charlotte (NC) Area Transit System (CATS) recently hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new UNC Charlotte Main Station, followed by an inaugural ride for community leaders.

The project fulfills the vision set forth by regional leaders in the 2030 Transit Corridor System Plan, adding 9.3 miles and 11 stations to the existing 15 stations of the LYNX Blue Line, which opened in 2007. The alignment also includes four new park-and-ride stations with approximately 3,000 spaces.

CATS Chief Executive Officer John Lewis said the event was especially meaningful for the staff who contributed to this project. “This is a great day not only for Charlotte citizens, but also for the hardworking CATS team who dedicated more than a decade to this project,” he said. “The completion of the BLE is but another step towards a comprehensive transportation system that will offer more choices and alternatives to traffic congestion.”

Charlotte Mayor Vi Alexander Lyles said at the event, “We are excited to celebrate everyone who shared in the vision that was created for a more connective Charlotte and who continue to invest in building a community of opportunities that includes jobs and education.”

Philip L. Dubois, chancellor of UNC Charlotte, noted how, with the arrival of light rail on campus, “our students have access to the many business, cultural and entertainment assets of Center City and the community will be able to take full advantage of the university’s many academic programs and to take part in our extensive arts, cultural and athletic offerings.”

CATS continues to run pre-revenue service along the entire LYNX alignment until the first day of regular service, March 16.

CATS CEO John Lewis, fourth from right, helps cut the ribbon for the LYNX Blue Line Extension in Charlotte, NC.

LA Metro Breaks Ground for Subway Extension

Representatives of Los Angeles Metro and local, state and federal officials recently broke ground on the second section of the Metro Purple Line Extension Project, which ultimately will add 2.6 miles of subway to downtown Beverly Hills and Century City.

Metro plans to launch major construction in the spring, when work crews create a launch area for a tunnel boring machine at the planned Century City/Constellation Station, followed by major work at the planned Wilshire/Rodeo Station in Beverly Hills beginning late this year or early in 2019.

The complete Purple Line, being built in three sections, will cover approximately nine miles and add seven new stations. The first section, already under construction, is scheduled for completion in 2023 and pre-construction activities for the third and final section will begin later this year. Sections 1 and 2 are funded primarily by Measure R, the sales tax Los Angeles County voters approved in 2008, and with a pair of federal grants; Metro is currently working to secure federal funds for Section 3.

Stakeholders break ground for the second section of the Metro Purple Line Extension Project.

Photo by Dave Sotero/Los Angeles Metro

In Fort Worth, the Name Is Now 'Trinity Metro'

After riding on “The T” for the past 33 years, public transit users in Fort Worth, TX, should get ready for a different brand: Trinity Metro, which will roll out a new look this spring in advertising, social media and community outreach.

Trinity Metro Board Chair Scott Mahaffey said, “Our board and the senior leadership have been working closely together to make major improvements over the last few years. The timing for this initiative is ideal. We are happy to see it rolled out the same year that we are completing TEXRail [commuter rail].”

Trinity Metro Chief Executive Officer/President Paul Ballard explained that the previous name “doesn’t fully encompass what we do. Our new name and look will provide a fresh, modern approach to represent all of our services, which include the Trinity Railway Express [commuter rail], buses, Molly the Trolley [circulator], TEXRail and MITS [Mobility-Impaired Transit Service] paratransit. The name also reflects our current and future expansion into other nearby cities.”

The transition comes as the agency implements its Transit Master Plan, which specifically calls for improved branding.

The agency explained that the name refers to the historic Trinity River near Fort Worth, Dallas and other North Texas cities. The logo uses three triangles (a trinity) to symbolize the community, commerce and future growth, placed in a manner that reveals the letter M in the space between them.

SANDAG Unveils Freeway-Level 'Rapid' Stations

The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) recently hosted a grand opening celebration and community block party in the City Heights neighborhood for the region’s first freeway-level public transit stations, which replace stations on the streets above California State Route 15.

SANDAG led the $65 million project, a collaborative effort that also included Caltrans District 11, which provided construction management services, and the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS), which will maintain the stations and operates Rapid limited-stop bus service. Funding came from FTA and TransNet, the regional half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements administered by SANDAG.

In addition to the two freeway-level Centerline stations at El Cajon Boulevard and University Avenue, the project included construction of public transit-only lanes designed to improve on-time performance.

“The Centerline Rapid stations will provide MTS passengers with even more convenience and reliability through the heart of the Mid-City corridor,” said MTS Board Chair Georgette Gómez, who also serves on the SANDAG Board of Directors. “Residents of City Heights worked hard to achieve this project, which will add a new level of transit service for the Mid-City community.”

Officials and community members kicked off the festivities by unveiling a bronze plaque that will be installed at the new stations.

MTS Chair Georgette Gómez, front row in pink jacket, joined other officials and community activists to unveil plaques for the freeway-level Centerline Rapid stations.


APTA/Aon 2018 Public Transit Liability Benchmark Analysis

APTA is again partnering with Aon’s Global Risk Management Consulting Group to produce a transit liability benchmark study which will be made available this fall to all participating APTA members at no cost.

The study, designed with public transit system managers in mind, will enable them to develop strategies that ultimately will help reduce liability exposures. Benchmark elements of the study will provide transit systems with metrics to compare their respective risk profiles against other systems and provide a tool to reinforce and maintain standards of practice and safety levels to potentially reduce the overall cost of risk.

As the risks related to operating transit systems evolve and new ones emerge, APTA’s Risk Management Committee—which spearheaded this initiative— chaired by Mark Emmons of IndyGo, encourages APTA members to participate in the study by providing raw data for analysis. Data will stay confidential, with results anonymized.

The study includes a survey of qualitative risk-related factors that will be developed into a comparative analysis to be shared with all study participants.

All APTA members will, by now, have received the survey. The deadline to return the completed survey to APTA is March 31.

For questions regarding the study and how to complete survey questions, contact Polly Hanson.

NTI Webinar Focuses on Workforce Changes

The National Transit Institute (NTI) has announced a free, hour-long webinar March 27 that examines knowledge management (KM) strategies that allow public transit agencies to proactively manage workforce changes to improve long-term organizational and employee performance.

The webinar, which begins at 2 p.m. Eastern time, features research from the Transit Cooperative Research Program’s (TCRP) recently published Research Report 194: Knowledge Management Resource to Support Strategic Workforce Development for Transit Agencies. The term KM refers to an organization’s process for collecting, storing and sharing organizational information and knowledge.

Register for the webinar here. For questions, contact Lori Glickman.

New CEO Named: Oklahoma Transit Association

The Oklahoma Transit Association (OTA) has named Mark Nestlen its new executive director.

Nestlen is also president and chief executive officer of his own consulting company, Bar None Consulting. He is a former lobbyist who worked on national agricultural and rural public policy and was director of congressional relations for the American Soybean Association.

For APTA, he serves on the State Affairs Committee.


Perspective in Virginia: Maintain a Strong Federal Role in Public Transit and Rail

Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation

Any major infrastructure funding or reauthorization program must recognize the clear federal role necessary to promote interstate commerce through the development of multimodal transportation options.

Virginia’s transportation system is increasingly multimodal, particularly in the metropolitan areas of Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. We also see greater demand for public transit in smaller cities such as Lynchburg, Blacksburg and Roanoke to revitalize communities and attract the workforce for tomorrow, and rapidly increasing demand for paratransit and human-service transportation in rural areas across the state.

This year, the commonwealth will invest more than $700 million in state revenues dedicated to enhancing public transportation and passenger rail. These funds will support the operation and capital needs of 44 transit systems and human-service agencies, 34 Virginia Railway Express (VRE) commuter rail trains and nine state-sponsored Amtrak routes.

While Virginia has stepped up to provide funding to public transit systems, we cannot do it alone; we need the federal government to maintain a strong commitment to transportation funding, including investments in transit and passenger rail.

The majority of our state capital funding goes to state-of-good-repair needs. Between now and 2027, Virginia’s public transit agencies will need $4.1 billion just to maintain existing assets in a state of good repair; however, we will only have $1.1 billion to put toward these capital needs.

Virginia is encouraged by the administration’s commitment to a major infrastructure initiative that can fund projects with national and regional benefits, but that are too cost-prohibitive for a single state to complete without robust federal support.

The I-95 corridor in Virginia is one of the most congested travel corridors in the U.S. Future expansion would outstrip available state resources and the impacts to adjacent communities would be significant. That’s why ­Virginia is developing multimodal solutions, including rail capacity in the DC-­Richmond corridor that runs parallel to I-95.

Unfortunately, we can’t provide more capacity until we expand the Long Bridge—a two-track rail bridge between Virginia and DC. This bridge is a vital link for the whole eastern seaboard and carries all CSX freight, Amtrak and VRE commuter rail traffic in and out of Virginia—roughly 90 trains and 20,000 people per day.

The Long Bridge is also the link between the Northeast and Southeast rail corridors. No nearby alternatives to this bridge exist if it becomes incapacitated; the next nearest rail crossing is approximately 60 miles upstream near Harper’s Ferry, WV.

We are working with DC DOT to expand the Long Bridge to four tracks. Through the Atlantic Gateway project, Virginia is prepared to provide more than $300 million for the track segments approaching the bridge; however, we need federal support to complete the project.

Virginia is a leader in using value capture for major transit expansion projects. For example, the Silver Line Metrorail expansion in Fairfax and Loudoun counties has generated up to $730 million in local funding through value capture to help finance the $6 billion project. The city of Alexandria is funding the Potomac Yard Metro Station using value capture, through approximately $230 million generated in new property taxes around the station, and backed by a state infrastructure bank loan.

However, value capture, alone, cannot solve our transit needs or substitute for federal funding. These approaches are most appropriate for transit expansion projects that generate new property tax revenues. Value capture doesn’t necessarily work to address long-term “legacy” costs or critical safety improvements. It is also important to remember that expansion projects add to our asset inventory and eventually become state-of-good-repair needs.

Virginia is also being creative in finding ways to leverage our existing assets to expand multimodal transportation capacity. Any future federal discretionary programs should reward states that have already taken innovative steps to generate new revenues.

For example, we are dedicating revenues generated by high-occupancy toll lanes in the heavily congested I-66, I-395 and I-64 corridors to increasing public transit options. Our focus in these corridors has been on moving more people—not just moving vehicles. These projects include additional high-occupancy toll lanes, passenger rail improvements, additional VRE service, park-and-ride spaces, bus service improvements and the improvement of several highway bottlenecks along the I-66 and I-95 corridors. The I-66 projects, alone, will move an additional 40,000 people each day.

In Virginia, we are finding ways to leverage our existing infrastructure and making major investments in public transit throughout metropolitan areas, college towns and rural communities. However, it’s not enough. We urge Congress to maintain a strong federal role in multimodal transportation, including continuation of federal formula programs, the Section 5309 Capital Investment Grant program and discretionary programs for transformative infrastructure projects of national significance.

"Commentary" features authoritative points of view from various sources on timely and pressing issues affecting public transportation. APTA would like to hear from you. If you are interested in submitting an original, thought-leader Commentary for consideration, please contact Senior Managing Editor David A. Riddy.


FTA SSO Deadline Nears

Acting Administrator
Federal Transit Administration

The Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) deadline for State Safety Oversight (SSO) program certification is just over a year away. Many states have made significant progress toward certification, yet as of February 2018, 26 states are still working to cross the certification finish line.

I know firsthand that establishing an SSO agency is not a simple task, so I want to emphasize FTA’s commitment to supporting states through the certification process and remind everyone of some key upcoming dates.

In March 2016, FTA issued a final rule to strengthen and enhance states’ authority to oversee the safety of their rail transit systems. The SSO rule requires states with FTA-funded rail transit to establish and obtain FTA certification of an SSO program by April 15, 2019.

If a state fails to meet the certification deadline, FTA is prohibited by law from awarding any new federal transit funds to public transportation agencies in that state until certification is achieved. This includes bus, rail and other transit services in urbanized and non-urbanized areas across the state.

Because the deadline cannot be waived or extended, FTA strongly encourages states to submit certification applications by April 15, 2018—a full year in advance—to allow ample time for evaluation and certification. Further, if a state applies for certification after Sept. 30, 2018, FTA cannot guarantee the state will be certified before the April 15, 2019, deadline.

Thirty states must meet the SSO requirements. As of February 2018, FTA has certified four SSO programs: Ohio, Minnesota, Utah and the District of Columbia. Currently, five states (Illinois, Michigan, New York, Oklahoma and Tennessee) still require state legislative or executive action prior to FTA certification.

Since the final rule was published in March 2016, FTA has been in regular communication with SSO program managers and staff, including one-on-one monthly calls, quarterly conference calls and semi-annual stakeholder meetings. We have conducted training workshops, webinars and distributed guidance to SSO program managers regarding requirements of the certification process. I have reached out to governors, legislative leadership, state DOTs and rail transit agency CEOs to emphasize the importance of meeting this deadline.

FTA’s SSO certification web page includes a complete list of affected states, their certification status and the estimated funding at risk if a state fails to obtain certification by the deadline. For specific information regarding a state’s progress, please contact that state’s designated SSO manager.

FTA will continue to work with the remaining states to support them in meeting the April 15, 2019, deadline so they can continue to receive grants that make rail and bus services possible. We remain committed to partnering with our stakeholders to improve and strengthen SSO programs across the nation.

For more information about the SSO program, click here.

Public Transit Advocates Mobilize; Opposing Cuts to Public Transit, Urging Inclusion in Infrastructure Initiative

During APTA’s 2018 Legislative Conference, March 18–20 in Washington, DC, APTA members will mobilize to oppose cuts to the federal Capital Improvement Grant (CIG) program and to inform Congress and the administration on the imperative of including public transit investment in the proposed infrastructure initiative.

While APTA and its members support the administration’s stated goal to strengthen America’s infrastructure, the association opposes cutting federal funds for existing public transit infrastructure programs to pay for it.

According to APTA, these cuts would be counterproductive to fostering prosperous communities. Specifically, the cuts to the CIG program would put 56 public transit projects at risk. These projects total $46 billion in investments in America’s public transit infrastructure.

APTA members are coming to Washington to continue to work with Congress and the administration on investing in—and not cutting—public transit infrastructure. Investments in public transportation contribute to economic growth and jobs—the hallmarks of a thriving economy.

To complement APTA members’ face-to-face meetings with lawmakers and Capitol Hill staff, APTA will create a surround sound of outreach activity in conjunction with this year’s Legislative Conference. Activities are designed to ensure that Congress and the administration understand that the proposed cuts would have a devastating impact on local communities and public transit investment must be a part of a proposed infrastructure initiative to help boost local economies.

Public Relations ­Outreach
Public transit advocates will conduct media interviews with local radio stations in their home communities. The interviews will be taped for release later in the day. The CEOs will highlight how investment in an infrastructure initiative can help their local communities.

CEOs whose systems have CIG program grants at risk will participate in a press conference call later in the day. In addition, public transit systems not represented at the conference, but who have CIG grants at risk of being cut, are encouraged to join in the outreach by disseminating information via social media and to their local media.

Advertising Outreach
APTA will conduct an inside-the-Beltway radio, online and print advertising campaign prior to the conference—continuing the association’s advocacy messaging until April.

Grassroots Outreach
As part of this grassroots effort, more than 210,000 people across the country are encouraged to let their congressional representatives know the importance of public transit to their communities. They will share their personal stories of the critical need to invest now in public transit.

For more information, ­contact ­Mantill Williams.

A sample ad that can be used to promote public transit interests. An example of Voices for Public Transit's social media outreach.

APTA Resources Have Essential Information

APTA has made available many publications and online tools to support you as you meet with congressional members and staff to convey public transit’s impact on communities and our nation.

Here is a summary of some of the resources available at the Advocacy Resource Center during APTA’s 2018 Legislative Conference.

The Benefits of Reliable Federal Funding
This report details how guaranteed funding for public transportation encourages innovation, supports U.S. manufacturing, delivers projects faster and at a lower cost and can help improve the state of good repair.

Public Transit’s Impact on Rural and Small Towns
This study examines the impact of public transit on rural and small-town communities, showing that its affordability and the demographic makeup of these regions make public transit increasingly desirable. 

Bus and Railcar ­Schematics Also available are copies of APTA’s schematics of a bus and a railcar that display how federal investment in public transportation creates and sustains U.S. jobs.

2017 Fact Book

The latest edition of APTA’s Public Transportation Fact Book is available in print and electronic editions. The 68th edition’s compendium of facts and figures reports that more than 6,700 U.S. public transportation organizations provided 4.89 billion revenue miles of service with more than 147,000 vehicles. Data is compiled and represented visually to show how public transportation technology and services have evolved.

The Business Case for Infrastructure Investment
This publication describes the current state of the public transportation industry and how investing in infrastructure modernization is critical for communities across the U.S. The brochure was funded by APTA’s Business Member Activity Fund.

The FAST Act authorizes funding for federal transit, rail and highway programs through FY 2020, and this guide summarizes the act’s key provisions. It includes many of APTA’s recommendations on federal public transportation authorizing law, developed by the association’s Authorization Task Force, High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Committee and Legislative Committee and approved by the APTA Board of Directors.

Invest in Public Transportation for a Stronger America
This booklet summarizes APTA’s suggestions for infrastructure initiative recommendations, as approved by the APTA Board of Directors. It also makes the case for the Trump administration and Congress to dramatically increase current federal investment levels to support the nation’s public transportation and intercity passenger rail systems.

Industry Footprint
What’s the impact of public transportation in your area? Find out quickly by using APTA’s Industry Footprint portal, which delivers the latest information on member ­locations, highlights the breadth and depth of ­public transportation services offered and presents key facts and statistics—all searchable by state and congressional district levels. The interactive map was sponsored by the APTA Business Member Activities Fund.

Where Public Transportation Goes, Community Grows
This brochure underscores the need for federal investment by highlighting the industry’s basic value messages; its role as a catalyst for job creation and economic opportunity and for enhancing global economic competitiveness, enhancing energy efficiency and sustainability and national security.

Find these resources at the APTA website by searching on the publication or tool title.

Reaching Out to Your Elected Officials

Today, every member of Congress can shape public transportation’s most important funding and policy issues. During APTA’s Legislative Conference, you will have the opportunity to share your priorities and perspectives with your representatives and senators. Are you ready?

Before Your Visit —

* Research your congressional dele­gation’s views and votes on public transportation. Keep in mind that “junior” members of Congress can sometimes have as much influence as senior members. Remember, all 535 members of Congress (435 in the House, 100 in the Senate) have one vote each.

* Schedule an appointment now! This is a priority since members’ schedules fill up quickly. While some legislators may be approachable during APTA’s Legislative Conference, you will make a more impactful impression on members of Congress and their staffs if you request a meeting in advance.

* Consider bringing together both public sector and business members to the appointment to show the full impact of public transportation in the legislator’s district.

* Create a one-page fact sheet with key facts about your organization, including number of employees, passengers and areas served, how your agency benefits the member’s constituents, and your needs and future plans. Be prepared to leave copies for the member and staff, along with your contact information.

* Use APTA resources, including the industry footprint, etc. APTA will have position papers and brochures on hand at the Resource Center.

* Prepare your elevator speech. Your member of Congress may have limited time, so practice delivering your message in a concise way. The goal is to make sure he or she knows who you are and the organization you represent, why you’re in Washington, and what you’re asking for.

During Your Visit —
* Be prepared for schedules to change unexpectedly. You’re visiting your elected officials at their place of work, which means they are attending hearings, casting votes in the House or Senate ­chamber, and attending meetings on and off Capitol Hill.

* Also, since 2018 is an election year, your members may be busier than usual. This is not to say that your message isn’t important, but you may need to deliver your elevator speech and one-pager during a 10-minute chat or a power walk through the U.S. Capitol.

* Be amiable, calm and positive. Regardless of your political views or affiliation, public transit is a bipartisan issue. And whatever position your elected official takes on any issue, remain gracious and open to continuing the dialogue via email.

* Ask questions. What are the issues of most concern to your member? Look for opportunities to attach your message to the elected official’s priorities. Start by finding out what’s most important to him or her, not with a canned message about what you want, and then pivot to how public transportation can play a role.

After Your Visit —

* Follow up with an email or letter thanking the member for his or her time. This also offers another opportunity to reiterate your message. If additional information has been requested—or promised by you—be sure to provide it quickly. This will show that you’re responsive to the elected official’s needs and you’re a reliable source of solid facts.

* Remember—each encounter, handshake, and meet-and-greet has the potential to strengthen connections and increase APTA’s influence in Congress and beyond. Good luck!

Key Members of Congressional Committees

House Transportation and ­Infrastructure Committee
Chairman: Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA)
Ranking Member: Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR)

Highways and Transit Subcommittee
Chairman: Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO)
Ranking Member: Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)

Railroads, Pipelines, and ­Hazardous Materials Subcommittee
Chairman: Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA)
Ranking Member: Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA)

Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee

Chairman: Sen. Michael Crapo (R-ID)
Ranking Member: Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

Housing, Transportation, and Community Development Subcommittee
Chairman: Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)
Ranking Member: Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)

Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee
Chairman: Sen. John Thune (R-SD)
Ranking Member: Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL)

Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security Subcommittee
Chairman: Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE)
Ranking Member: Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI)

NAPTA Helps Nurture Local Transit Coalition Support

How can local coalitions enhance their effectiveness as advocates for the advancement of accessible, sustainable and affordable transit systems in communities across the country? The answer forms the core focus of the National Alliance for Public Transportation Advocates (NAPTA).

NAPTA is the national coalition of grassroots public transit coalitions, grassroots transit rider organizations and advocates who understand the importance of local transit investments in improving mobility and generating local economic activity.

Each year, NAPTA hosts its annual meeting and advocacy day in conjunction with APTA’s Legislative Conference. With infrastructure investment on the congressional ­calendar this year, NAPTA’s meeting, March 20 from 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m., provides an opportunity for grassroots coalitions to mobilize and connect.

Attendees will learn how to successfully communicate the importance of increased public transit funding, discuss ways to leverage this year’s midterm elections and infrastructure bill to benefit public transportation and how APTA’s Local Transit Coalition Grant Program can support efforts to achieve public transportation goals.

Attendees will receive an update of pending federal transit issues, including FY 2018 and FY 2019 appropriations bills, the precarious situation of the federal Highway Trust Fund and Mass Transit Account and the particular threat to Capital Investment Grants.

Participants will hear about resources available to members including the APTA coalition grant program, which provides grants to help energize grassroots advocacy efforts. The program funds activities including both public education programs and advocacy efforts. Many of this year’s grants supported a local transit ballot initiative and national efforts to protect federal surface transportation programs.

The NAPTA website also offers a number of resources to help coalitions support public transit, including information on ways to grow a coalition, reach out to local elected officials, build consensus among diverse stakeholders and work with the media.

Last year, NAPTA partnered with like-minded but non-traditional partners within the walkability community to create the Transit-Walkability Collaborative (TWC). The TWC consists of nine organizations focused on promoting the benefits of walkable, public transit-rich communities and policies that simultaneously expand walkability and transit services in local communities. Several upcoming webinars and events are being planned to stimulate interest and discussion about the coordination of walkability and transit campaigns.

All APTA Legislative Conference attendees with an interest in increased investment in public transit are encouraged to attend NAPTA’s annual meeting! We invite you to share information on local, pro-transit coalitions in your region and how they might engage with NAPTA. For more information and to join NAPTA, please visit the website.


Meet MacPherson Hughes-Cromwick!

MacPherson Hughes-Cromwick
Policy Analyst
Policy Department

What are your primary responsibilities at APTA?

My role is to monitor and ­analyze major policy issues that affect the public transportation industry. I use this information in crafting internal memos for other APTA staff, to form the basis of my own independent research and analysis and to identify external organizations that may be able to collaborate with APTA on research projects. Among the important issues I study are ridership patterns, the electrification of buses, value capture, transportation-oriented communities and disruptive mobility trends.

I also serve as a project manager for a number of APTA research publications, including Open for Business: The Business Case for Infrastructure Investment, Benefits of Reliable Funding, and the upcoming Economic Impact of Public Transportation Modernization. APTA is heavily involved with the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP), with the Policy Department influencing topics such as the J-11 program (devoted to research on major policy and planning issues within public transportation), for which I have drafted several proposals.

In addition, I am responsible for certain APTA data reports on topics related to management compensation, wages and infrastructure. This work involves coding online surveys, disseminating surveys and formatting database responses to reports.

What initiatives or programs have you worked on at APTA of which you are particularly proud?

I was involved with the creation of APTA’s 2017 Public Transportation Fact Book. This year’s edition has a new format to show data in a more holistic way and emphasizing trend analysis and visual graphics. I recently completed my first big report (with special thanks to my colleague Matt Dickens for his assistance) on management compensation; APTA had not updated this research since 2012.

The APTA Policy Department has also undertaken a great deal of editing and content work on a newly released report on rural ­transit, Public Transportation’s Impact on Rural and Small Towns, which was mentioned by USDOT Secretary Elaine L. Chao in her remarks at the 2017 APTA Annual Meeting.

To what extent do you have direct contact with APTA members?

APTA’s Policy Department often receives data requests from members seeking a range of public transit statistics. We typically respond following consultation with one of APTA’s many databases (vehicle, infrastructure, etc.) or data from the National Transit Database. Our team will also reach out to members through surveys and focus groups to collect data and solicit member input on a variety of policy issues.

How did you come to be at APTA? How long have you worked here?

I received my ­­undergraduate degree from New York Uni­versity, in economics and mathematics, in 2017 and joined APTA the same year. As someone who has long been interested in transportation issues, I was excited about the possibility of working at APTA. I had prior internship experiences with the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) and the Center for Transportation Excellence (CFTE). These experiences helped foster my interests in transit and gave me valuable insight on autonomous vehicle development (with CAR) and local public transit funding initiatives, techniques and strategy (with CFTE).

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

I am from Ann Arbor, ­Michigan, and I can play the piano. I started when I was about eight years old and focused on pieces by John Williams (famous composer of music for movies directed by ­Steven Spielberg and George Lucas) and four Chopin Nocturnes.


2018 AdWheel First Place Winners

APTA’s AdWheel Awards recognize the marketing and communications efforts of association members and showcase the strategic value of communications and marketing in the industry.

Public transportation systems and businesses compete within their peer group, based on number of annual passenger trips or in the separate business member group. The awards are further organized into two categories: Best Efforts to Increase Ridership/Sales and Best Educational Effort. Each of those two categories has seven subcategories. Judges did not award winners in all groups or subcategories, and there were some ties.

The 2018 first-place winners, listed below, were announced at the recent Marketing and Communications Workshop; Grand Award winners will be announced at a special ceremony during the APTA Annual Meeting, Sept. 23-26 in Nashville.

Category 1:
Best ­Marketing and Communications
To Increase Ridership or Sales

Key for Member Type:

* Group 1: Fewer than 4 million annual passenger trips
* Group 2: Between 4 million and 20 million annual passenger trips
* Group 3: Greater than 20 million annual passenger trips
* Group 4: Business members

Best Print Media

Denton County Transportation Authority, Lewisville, TX - 1
City of Albuquerque Transit Department, NM - 2
Spokane Transit Authority, WA - 2
Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Houston - 3
American Seating Company - 4

Best Electronic Media
Waco Transit System, TX - 1
Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, MO - 2
Pace Suburban Bus, Chicago - 3
Apollo Video Technology - 4

Best Special Event
Lake Erie Transportation Commission, Monroe, MI - 1
Kansas City Area Transportation Authority - 2
Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, St. Petersburg, FL - 2
Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority - 3
Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County - 3
Motor Coach Industries - 4

Best Social Media
Southern California Regional Rail Authority (Metrolink) - 2

Best Partnership

South Bend Public Transportation Corporation (Transpo), IN - 1
Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority, Tampa, FL - 2
Société de transport de Montréal, Quebec - 3

Best Shoestring Tactic
Denton County Transportation Authority - 1
South Florida Regional Transportation Authority - 2
Miami-Dade Transit - 3

Best Comprehensive Campaign
Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority, Columbia, SC - 1
Delaware Transit Corporation - 2
Orange County Transportation Authority, CA - 3
Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) - 3
Q’Straint - 4

Category 2:
Best ­Marketing and Communications Educational Effort

Best Print Media
Go Triangle, Research Triangle Park, NC - 1
C-TRAN, Vancouver, WA - 2
Regional Transportation District, Denver - 3
Complete Coach Works - 4

Best Electronic Media

Go Triangle - 1
Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority - 2
Regional Transportation Authority, Chicago - 3
Regional Transportation District - 3
INIT Innovations in Transportation Inc. - 4

Best Special Event

Go Triangle - 1
Southern California Regional Rail Authority (Metrolink) - 2
South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority (TransLink) - 3
Trapeze Group - 4

Best Social Media

San Joaquin Regional Transit District, Stockton, CA - 1
Jacksonville Transportation Authority, FL - 2
VIA Metropolitan Transit, San Antonio, TX - 3
Complete Coach Works - 4

Best Partnership
Denton County Transportation Authority - 1
Kansas City Area Transportation Authority - 2
Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority - 3
Pavlov Advertising -  4

Best Shoestring Tactic
Go Triangle - 1
Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority - 2
LYNX - Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority, Orlando - 3

Best Comprehensive Campaign
Lake Erie Transportation Commission - 1
Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority, IA - 2
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority - 3
Transit App - 4

See an archive of past AdWheel Award recipients here.

APTA Welcomes Its New Members

APTA welcomes its new members who joined between Oct. 1, 2017, and Feb. 1, 2018.

A. Bonds & Associates
Ellicott City, MD
Margareth C. Bonds, President

Birmingham Regional Paratransit Consortium dba ClasTran
Birmingham, AL
Fenn Church, Executive Director

BTL Technologies Inc.
San Antonio, TX
William F. Kent, President

Butte County Association of Governments
Chico, CA
Michael Rosson, Transit Manager

Castellion Consulting
Littleton, CO
Lee Castellion, PMP, Principal

ChargePoint Inc.
Campbell, CA
David Peterson, Director of Fleet Solutions

Deutsche Bahn Engineering and Consulting USA Inc.
Tarrytown, NY
Mark Evans, President

Robert J. Dunn
Clinton, NY

EasyMile Inc.
Denver, CO
Lauren Isaac, Director of Business Initiatives

Explorer Group of Companies
St. Martins, New Brunswick, CANADA
Jody Smyth, President

Woodridge, IL
Bryan Romer, Account Manager

Indra USA Inc.
Miami, FL
Brian Patno, Director of Transportation

Koehler-Bright Star LLC
Hanover Township, PA
Marc Shinsky, Sales Director

Tammy Krause
West Chester, PA

Legacy Rail Operations LLC
Chicago, IL
Gregory White, Co-Founder/CEO

Mayser USA Inc.
Belleville, MI
Scott Behr, Sales Engineer

McConway & Torley LLC
Pittsburgh, PA
Scott James Kramer, Product Manager

Glendale, AZ
Patrice Miller, Associate

Snapper Services Limited
Wellington, NEW ZEALAND
Nina Ive, Head of Sales and Marketing
(+64) 21726872

Sology Solutions
Richardson, TX
Ed Christmas, Founder/Managing Principal

SONGZ Automobile Air Conditioning Company Ltd.
Shanghai, CHINA
Mandy Luo, Sales Supervisor
(+86) 21-54424998-286

St. Lucie County Board of County Commissioners
Fort Pierce, FL
Murriah Dekle, Transit Manager

Success Strategies Inc. dba Docwhiz
Quincy, MA
Paula Stanziani, President

Tri-County Action Program Inc.
Waite Park, MN
Lori Schultz, Executive Director

Virginia Transit Liability Pool
Richmond, VA
Eric W. Kimpfler, Loss Control/Claims Specialist

ViriCiti LLC
Menlo Park, CA
Joel Torr, Director of Business Development US

ZED Digital
Columbus, OH
Sumithra Jagannath, President

Zephir S.p.A
Modena, ITALY
Marco Mattioli, Managing Director
(+39) 059252554


San Joaquin RTD Launches BRT Route

The San Joaquin Regional Transit District (RTD), Stockton, CA, welcomed its new BRT route, the Midtown Corridor, with a public event March 1.

Speakers including RTD Chief Executive Officer Donna DeMartino and Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs welcomed guests to the event, which also featured food prepared by local culinary arts students, gifts and a guided tour of the route in specially decorated buses.

“The event theme was ‘Reconnect from East to West,’ and the event made that a reality,” DeMartino said. “Students from the local high school on the east side of our city were brought to the event at the Stockton Children’s Museum at the far west end.” She noted that the new BRT service, designated as Route 47, can transport high school students to two colleges across the city in an average of 23 minutes.

Cheerleaders from the high school performed an RTD-themed cheer during the launch event.

One of the specially decorated RTD buses that provided a guided tour of the new BRT route, with the theme “Port of Stockton.” The tour guide in skipper cap is RTD Board and Executive Support Specialist Merab Talamantes, and the frog is one of the system’s mascots, Freddy.

New LAVTA Buses, New Exterior Design

The Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA), Livermore, CA, has begun rolling out 18 new buses from Gillig, manufactured at the company’s facility in Livermore. The new buses have a new exterior look and logo designed to complement the appearance of LAVTA’s Rapid buses that serve San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District stations.

Tampa's HART Hosts AV Demonstration

Autonomous vehicles recently came to the streets of downtown Tampa, FL, in a demonstration hosted by the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART), the city and the vehicle provider.

“The organization’s demonstration with May Mobility is a fantastic opportunity for residents to experience autonomous vehicle technology on our city streets,” said HART Interim Chief Executive Officer Jeff Seward. “Automated vehicles have the potential to significantly enhance our transit system in the near future, and HART is excited to bring this technology and innovative thinking to our community.”

The vehicles transported passengers on city streets and near one of HART’s transit centers to demonstrate the technology in a real-world scenario. The agency anticipates eventual deployment and use of autonomous vehicles in these areas.

One of the autonomous vehicles recently operating on the streets of Tampa.

New Flyer Introduces New Electric-Bus Simulator

New Flyer of America Inc. has introduced a bus simulator at its Vehicle Innovation Center in Anniston, AL, that uses full-scale original equipment manufacturer components to simulate the operation of the company’s zero-emission, battery-electric Xcelsior CHARGE™ public transit bus.

FAAC Incorporated designed and installed the simulator using a 180-degree screen display and 4K (high-definition) projection system, Other amenities include a working door and ramp, lights, mirrors, air-brake system and adjustable driver’s seat inside a full-scale front cabin.

The simulator’s main objective is to support driver training specific to regenerative braking, an energy-saving technique that can provide operational improvements including extended range, reduced energy consumption and less brake system maintenance.


Who's Doing What in the Industry

Editor's Note: This version of the story does not include graphics that appear in the print edition. To see these graphics, click here.

NEW YORK CITY—HNTB has named Joseph Pizzurro its transit and rail practice leader, a newly created position for the New York and New Jersey metropolitan area. A senior vice president at HNTB with more than 22 years of industry experience, Pizzurro joined the firm in 2011 and served most recently as sales officer for its Northeast Division.

Also, Edmond Hunter joined the company as a senior transit and rail project manager, based in Chelmsford, MA. He has more than 42 years of experience, including more than 10 years as assistant general manager for design and construction with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

NEW YORK CITY—STV announced the promotion of Michael Moskowitz to vice president, based in the New York City office, and the appointment of Ted Lachus as a vice president in the firm’s Transportation & Infrastructure Division and head of the firm’s Chicago office.

Moskowitz joined STV in 2016 and has headed the company’s bridge design, repair and resident engineering and inspection group in New York. Lachus has more than 35 years of transportation experience, most recently overseeing transportation projects in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin for a local consultancy firm.

ST. LOUIS—Bi-State Development, operator of St. Louis Metro, has appointed Trenise Winters as general manager of MetroBus operations and Gregory A. Smith as vice president of procurement and materials management.

Winters, a Metro employee since 2002, is now responsible for the operation of more than 1,000 bus operators, managers and other personnel and a fleet of approximately 400 vehicles.

Smith joins Bi-State Development after serving as director of the logistics sector for the St. Louis Regional Chamber and director of purchasing, strategic sourcing and supplier development for the Olin Corporation, where he worked for 25 years. He succeeds Larry Jackson, who became executive vice president of administration in 2016 but also continued to lead the procurement team during the search for his replacement.

SALEM, OR—Al McCoy has joined Cherriots as director of finance and chief financial officer. He has more than 23 years of public transit finance experience with agencies including the Memphis Area Transit Authority, Seattle’s Sound Transit, Washington State Ferries, Dallas Area Rapid Transit and Sacramento Regional Transit District.

STOCKTON, CA—The San Joaquin County Commission on the Status of Women recognized Jasmine Leek, customer engagement analyst with San Joaquin Regional Transit District (RTD) with a Susan B. Anthony Women of Achievement Award in the category “Young Feminist Under 30.” Leek joined RTD in May 2017.

DAYTON, OHIO—Michael Roth has joined the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority as paratransit manager. He has more than 13 years of paratransit leadership experience, most recently with MV Transportation as a district manager overseeing five Ohio-based paratransit contracts.

MONTEREY, CA—Monterey-Salinas Transit has named Mike Butler marketing and customer service manager. He began his career in publishing and also is a professional photographer.

SAN DIEGO—Tom Walker, senior vice president and managing director, Asia-Pacific, for Cubic Transportation Systems, has been appointed to the advisory board of the Tourism and Transport Forum Australia, a national member-funded CEO forum advocating the public policy interests of leading corporations and institutions in Australia tourism, transport and aviation.

RIVERSIDE, CA—The Riverside Transit Agency (RTA) Board of Directors honored Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley for his 15 years of service on the RTA board, including a term as its chairman in 2013.

PHILADELPHIA—Urban Engineers announced the promotion of Gregory May, the firm’s national practice leader for rail and transit, to vice president. May is a member of the APTA Capital Projects Subcommittee and Rail Transit Committee.