|January 9, 2009|
News HeadlinesHouse Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Adds New Members
Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN), chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee of the House of Representatives, announced the addition of 10 new members to the committee: Solomon Ortiz (D-TX), Phil Hare (D-IL), John A. Boccieri (D-OH), Mark H. Schauer (D-MI), Betsy Markey (D-CO), Parker Griffith (D-AL), Michael E. McMahon (D-NY), Thomas S.P. Perriello (D-VA), Dina Titus (D-NV), and Harry Teague (D-NM).
Recommendations Could Help Public Transit Agencies 'See Green'
A new set of ideas for making the nation's largest public transit system even more "green" could have relevance for other systems around the country. The recommendations come from the final report of the blue-ribbon Commission on Sustainability convened by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and released by MTA Executive Director and CEO Elliot "Lee" Sander yesterday. Strategies for improving the agency's environmental profile include getting 80 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2050 and cutting operational energy use and greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2019. “As the largest public transportation system in North America and one of the biggest in the world, MTA’s actions will serve as a model for how we as a nation can reduce our carbon footprint and achieve energy independence," APTA President William W. Millar said at a press event in Washington, DC. "We call on the federal government and Congress to increase investment for public transit, so that America can create more jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and become more carbon efficient.”
Public Transit Users Save Average of More than $8,000 Yearly
According to the just-released APTA Transit Savings Report, despite a drop in gasoline prices, users of public transportation in the 20 cities with the highest public transit ridership still save an average of $8,368 per year. Bostonians save the most -- just over $12,000 annually -- followed by residents of New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Each city's parking, gasoline, and insurance costs, as well its transit fares, were among the factors in that city's savings calculation.
Possible New Rail Interstate Routes Raise Hopes
A second "golden age of rail" could be on the horizon if the new routes that Amtrak is considering in various locations come to fruition. Among the possibilities is an extension to link the "Heartland Flyer" -- which currently truncates in Oklahoma City -- to the "Southwest Chief" line, via a connection at Newtown, KS. Also being considered is a direct route between Minneapolis and Kansas City, as well as a new route between St. Paul and St. Louis.
Save The DateAPTA Legal Affairs Seminar: Feb. 8-10
This year's seminar, in Santa Monica, CA, includes two full days of sessions, along with a Sunday roundtable. The seminar will feature up-to-date information on regulatory and legislative developments, industry-related litigation, and other legal issues affecting the public transit industry.
In the Media
Secretary of Transportation-designee Ray LaHood should enlist the help of Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN) to secure greater federal investment in public transportation, according to a New York Times editorial.
A feature in The Washington Post discusses how transit-planning websites can make it easier to use public transportation when traveling in unfamiliar areas.
Rep. John Mica (R-FL) has been promoting a plan for high-speed rail in the Northeast Corridor, the Baltimore Sun reports.
Editorials advocating for increased investment in public transportation have recently appeared in newspapers across the country, including: The Birmingham (AL) News, The Detroit News, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The San Jose Mercury News, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Seattle Times, and The Wall Street Journal.
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