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May 29, 2009

News Headlines

Senate Bill Would Allow 10 Percent of ARRA Funds for Operations

The Senate on May 21 passed a war supplemental bill with a rider that would allow transit systems to use 10 percent of their funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for operations expenses. APTA strongly supports this legislation, which will provide needed relief to public transit systems facing layoffs, service cuts, and fare increases. House and Senate leaders are expected to convene soon after the Memorial Day recess and take action on the bill in the first two weeks of June. APTA members are encouraged to contact their members of Congress to express their support for this provision.



FTA Issues More Transit Funding Under ARRA

The Federal Transit Administration continues to distribute ARRA funds for public transit projects throughout the nation. King County Metro Transit in Seattle received $70.9 million for the purchase of 60 new hybrid buses; in Norwalk, CT, $1.5 million in ARRA funding will allow the Norwalk Transit District to proceed with plans to improve its downtown transit hub, the transfer point for all local NTD buses and connecting service to Danbury, Stamford, Milford, and Bridgeport. Sonoma County (CA) Transit will use $1.35 million of its $2 million total for preventive maintenance and $605,000 to add two new compressed natural gas buses to its fixed route fleet. And Odessa, TX, has several transit-related projects for its $3.9 million through ARRA, including the purchase of 12 buses, support vehicles and equipment, fare collection equipment, and route signage, along with preventive maintenance and new bus shelters and communications equipment.



APTA President Discusses Public Transitís Sustainability Contributions

APTA President William Millar on May 28 discussed APTA's pilot Sustainability Program and the ways public transit systems are saving green while going green. The conference, at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC, was hosted by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). Also participating were Pennsylvania Secretary of Transportation and AASHTO President Allen Biehler, as well as J. Barry Barker, executive director of Transit Authority of the River City (TARC), in Louisville, KY, and Joseph Casey, general manager of Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority in Philadelphia.



Save the Date: Transit Board Members Seminar July 18-21


The 2009 Transit Board Members Seminar & Board Support Employee Development Workshop in Cincinnati will feature focus on achieving a new level of excellence in overseeing high-quality services and organizations in board members' governance roles. Educational and exchange workshops and opportunities will be offered for transit board members and board support staff.



In the Media


USA Today discussed the growing push by cities to have a rail connection to their airports. 

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced its design for an interactive, touch-sensitive, solar-powered bus stop for the city of Florence, Italy.

APTA President William Millar discussed the crucial role public transit plays in the lives of older Americans, as part of a National Journal Expert Blog on transportation.



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