|March 20, 2009|
News HeadlinesFRA Top Two Posts Filled
This week President Obama announced his plans to nominate Joseph C. Szabo as head of the Federal Railroad Administration. Szabo is the United Transportation Union's Illinois state legislative director and also serves on the Federal Railroad Administration's Rail Safety Advisory Committee. In addition, longtime APTA member and public transit advocate Karen Rae has been appointed FRA deputy administrator. Rae is currently deputy commissioner for policy and planning at the New York State Department of Transportation.
Vice President Biden, Sec. LaHood Visit New Flyer Factory
Vice President Biden yesterday participated in a town hall event at bus manufacturer New Flyer's factory in St. Cloud, MN, to highlight the jobs supported by ARRA funds. "It's time to hear directly from those hit hardest by our
economic crisis," Biden said. "My hope today is that we answer questions, but also get some ideas for what the federal government can do better." New Flyer manufactures low-emission, alternative-fuel vehicles and hired more than 90 people last year.
APTA Members Testify at House Climate Change Hearing
Several APTA members testified before the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming yesterday. Peter Varga, CEO of The Rapid in Grand Rapids, MI; WMATA Board and Arlington County Board Member Chris Zimmerman; and John Boesel, president and CEO of CalStart, explained to the committee the many ways public transit improves the nation's sustainability. Also testifying was APTA coalition partner Andy
Clark, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists.
Sec. LaHood, HUD Secretary, Others Testify Before House Appropriations Committee
DOT Secretary LaHood and HUD Secretary Donovan on Wednesday testified before the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, on the subject of "Livable Communities, Transit Oriented Development, and Incorporating Green Building Practices into Federal Housing and Transportation Policy." The two secretaries advocated greater coordination between their departments regarding land use and transportation planning. This follows Wednesday's announcement of the joint DOT/HUD task force to promote sustainable communities.
Testifying the next day were Robert Puentes, director of the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Infrastructure Initiative; Mary A. Leary, senior director for Easter Seals Project ACTION and the National Center on Senior Transportation; John Norquist, president and CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism; and Grace Crunican, director of the Seattle DOT.
APTA/FTA Webinar to Help Grantees Prepare for July 1 ARRA Grant Deadline
On March 27 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., APTA will host a free, FTA-led webinar to help potential grantees make sure they meet all the deadlines for spending funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Susan Schruth, associate administrator for program management, and Susan Borinsky, associate administrator for planning and environment, along with other staff, will cover the grant process, timing, and reporting requirements unique to the new law. This will be the second APTA/FTA
webinar on this subject.
Systems Already Devoting ARRA Funds to Local Projects
Citilink in Fort Wayne, IN, plans to use its estimated $4.1 million from ARRA to purchase hybrid buses to replace older vehicles in the fixed route fleet. The system noted that numerous Indiana companies provide products and services to the public transit industry.
Save the Date
There is still time to sign up for APTA's 2009 Bus and Paratransit Conference & International Bus Roadeo, in Seattle May 1-6. The event will include a series of interactive sessions, bus displays, and a products and services showcase featuring the latest bus and paratransit vehicles. There will also be numerous opportunities to meet and network with industry leaders and colleagues from throughout North
In the Media
The New York Times this week included an article about DOT Secretary LaHood's discussions of possible transportation reforms.
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