|December 5, 2008|
News HeadlinesObama Seeks Governors' Help for New Source of Public Transit Funding
President-elect Barack Obama has asked the nation's governors to support a "National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank" to supplement federal transportation investments. Such an institution would be but one component of an overall economic stimulus plan he hopes to create with the help of the nation's governors. Any such plan should emphasize clean energy and "green collar jobs," according to comments from a variety of advisors to his transition team. The incoming president has asked Congress to have a stimulus package ready for him to sign as soon as possible after he takes office.
FRA Acting Administrator Named
Transportation Secretary Mary Peters has named Clifford C. Eby as acting administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration, at least until the presidential inauguration. The move comes after outgoing administrator Joseph Boardman took over as head of Amtrak. Eby was most recently the agency's deputy administrator and previously served as vice president for engineering and construction at Parsons Corporation.
Public Transit Needs Loom Large for Incoming Transportation Secretary
A decrease in vehicle miles driven has made the highway trust fund increasingly inadequate, according to one news report -- and this, combined with the pressing need for increased capacity in public transportation as well as other needs, means the next Secretary of Transportation will have a difficult task addressing future transit and highway needs. In addition, road congestion, an outmoded air-traffic
control system, and degraded infrastructure all demand increased funding, along with public transportation.
Voters OK Measure to Bring BART to San Jose Area
Voters in Santa Clara County, California, approved a measure to extend Bay Area Rapid Transit to that county, which includes the city of San Jose. The victory comes after a lengthy recount. For the initiative, called Measure B, to pass, approval by two-thirds (66.67%) of voters was needed; ultimately, 66.78% voted "yes" on the plan, which will fund the extension with a 1/8-cent sales-tax increase and still-to-come matching state and federal funds.
The Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) is currently soliciting nominations for individuals to serve on project oversight panels for FY 2009 TCRP research projects. Nominations will be accepted until Jan. 7, 2009, and the panels will first meet in February or March.
In the Media
Public transportation made a timely arrival in other news stories this week.
The Washington Post published an editorial advocating for federal officials to prevent transit agencies' loans from going into default.
The Phoenix Symphony has performed a "March of the Metro" piece, commissioned by two of its longtime supporters, who are also public-transit riders.
Sacramento's Regional Transit District earlier this week honored Rosa Parks with a variety of events.
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