|May 15, 2009|
News HeadlinesMillar Meets With LaHood, Szabo
In a continuing effort to acquaint key members of the Obama administration with APTA and significant issues for public transportation, APTA President William Millar met with two new members of the Obama administration to provide them with more information about the interests and contributions of public transportation. Millar met with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on April 12 and met with Joseph Szabo, the new administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration, on April 13.
Climate Change Bill Moves Forward; Role of Public Transit Still Undetermined
The American Clean Energy Security Act of 2009, the draft climate change legislation sponsored by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Energy and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Ed Markey (D-MA), is expected to go directly to a full committee markup starting Monday, May 18. The status of emissions allowances and any resulting funds for investment in public transit remains unclear, but this news could be available next week; be sure to read the May 25 issue of Passenger Transport for details.
Oberstar Meets with Ways & Means on Authorization; June Markup Expected
House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN) met recently with Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY) and with members of the Ways and Means Committee. Oberstar explained his framework for the next authorization bill and discussed the concept for an authorization bill of $450 billion or more. Although members talked about the challenges of financing a $450 billion plus bill, no decisions were made on how to finance the measure, and staff indicated that the meeting represented an encouraging and constructive start for the process. Oberstar is expected to introduce legislation shortly after the Memorial Day congressional recess and has expressed a desire to move a bill through committee and to the House floor early this summer.
LaHood Presents ARRA Funds to Public Transit Projects
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently awarded American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds to numerous additional projects. These funds will go toward projects already covered by Full Funding Grant Agreements through FTA; the ARRA grants do not increase the federal commitment to the projects but expedite funds committed under the existing agreements. These light rail lines are among the transit projects receiving ARRA funds: Valley Metro Rail’s Phoenix-Central
Phoenix/East Valley line, $36 million; the Eastside Extension of the Metro Gold Line in Los Angeles, $66.7 million; in Portland, OR, Tri-Met's South Corridor I-205/Portland Mall line, $32 million; and West Corridor light rail for the Regional Transportation District in Denver, $40 million.
FTA Reports Nearly $2 Billion in ARRA Funds Granted
The FTA has a total of 198 ARRA grants pending, with nearly $2 billion in investment. However, 72 percent of the total funding is still available.
Save the Date
May 20 is the application deadline for the APTA Rail Rodeo Customer Service Challenge. This first-ever event will have the industry’s very best rail transit employees facing off to test their customer service skills, as they are challenged with a series of customer service scenarios. The event is open to all APTA member transit system rail station attendants and employees with face-to-face interaction with passengers, including ticket and station agents and commuter rail conductors.
Join other public transit systems throughout the U.S. to celebrate the fourth annual National Dump the Pump Day on June 18. The day is set aside to raise public awareness of the many benefits of public transportation. This year’s activities will encourage people to take public transit instead of driving a car, thereby saving money and helping the environment. APTA has developed an online toolkit full of resources to help members plan and implement their Dump the Pump activities.
In the Media
A design and technology blog includes a collection of some of the world's most innovative bus stop designs.
The Washington Post Magazine included a feature about a mother's quest to help her adult son, who has autism, ride the Washington, DC, Metrorail independently.
And the New York Times published a piece about New York MTA buses' switch back to pull cords for stop requests.
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