|September 26, 2008|
WASHINGTON NEWSPUBLIC TRANSPORTATION INCLUDED IN CONGRESSIONAL STIMULUS PLANS
Today, both the House and Senate unveiled legislation that would provide immediate funding for public transportation infrastructure to help stimulate the economy and provide operating assistance to transit agencies to cope with high fuel prices and ridership demand. The House bill - “Job Creation and Unemployment Relief Act of 2008” (H.R. 7110) -- provides $3.6 billion for immediate capital investment, and $1 billion for operating expenses to help transit agencies increase
service, reduce fares, or avoid fare increases or service reductions due to the high fuel costs. The House is scheduled to vote on the bill late today.
Millar Speaks on Transit and Climate Issues Before House Ways and Means Committee
The House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), held a hearing September 18 on the importance of public transportation in reducing greenhouse gases. Among the many speakers was APTA President William W. Millar—marking the first time anyone from APTA has testified before this gathering. He noted that if a two-adult, two-car household gave up one car for commuting and used public transit instead, it will produce a greater savings than the
combined effort of that household installing compact fluorescent lights, weatherizing their home, and replacing their old refrigerator with a new Energy Star appliance. That same household, said Millar, could realize a savings of up to 30 percent of carbon dioxide emissions. “Revenue from the auction of emissions allowances under a ‘cap-and-trade’ program or some other type of legislation should be used to supplement—not substitute—funding provided through the
federal highway and public transportation authorization legislation,” he said.
SAVE THE DATE
House Passes Massive Rail Safety and Amtrak Authorization Bill
Congress combined pending legislative proposals to revamp the federal rail safety laws and authorize spending for Amtrak into a single bill (H.R. 2095) in an effort to expedite passage before the expected Congressional adjournment this weekend. The new legislation contains compromise versions of competing rail safety and Amtrak bills that passed both the House and Senate earlier this year. The legislation passed the House by a voice vote yesterday and awaits
consideration in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said he plans to bring the bill the Senate floor prior to adjournment.
DHS Prohibited from Imposing Grant Match Requirements for FY 2009
Good news! As you know, the FY 2008 Transit Security Grant Program requires matches for capital projects and operations, with the grants going through the states. When the House considers the continuing resolution that includes the FY 2009 Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill, there is statutory language that prohibits DHS from imposing a match requirement for FY 2009 as well as FY
2008, and directs the DHS to transmit grant funding directly to transit authorities.
IN THE MEDIA
New York City MTA added Google's map service this week showing travelers how to navigate the city's transit system.
Transit authorities across the country take aim at improving manners. Read all about it by the Well Mannered Traveler, Harriet Baskas.
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