APTA | Passenger Transport Express
June 12, 2009

News Headlines

Many Legislative Issues Pending for Public Transit; APTA Urges Members to Contact Members of Congress

A number of issues affecting public transportation are pending before Congress, from authorization to operational funding to the Highway Trust Fund to transit security.

The ability of Congress to pass the next surface transportation authorization bill before the expiration of SAFETEA-LU remains uncertain. APTA continues to work with key Congressional staff on this issue.

However, there are two near-term opportunities for operational funding that APTA is advocating on Capitol Hill. One is a rider to the war supplemental bill that would permit public transit systems to use 10 percent of formula funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for operational expenses. The other is the American Clean Energy Security Act under consideration by the Senate, which contains no funding for public transportation.

On June 8, the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee approved an initial draft of the Fiscal Year 2010 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Related Agencies Appropriations bill that significantly reduces funding for transit security grants.

In addition, Congress will have to address the expected insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund as early as late July.

APTA encourages members to contact their members of Congress to express their concern regarding these developments.


San Francisco MTC Leader Appointed as FTA Deputy

Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff announced the appointment of Therese Watkins McMillan as the Deputy Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration on June 5. McMillan is currently Deputy Executive Director of Policy for the San Francisco Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission.  Transportation Secretary LaHood praised  her transportation background. "Ms. McMillan brings real-world experience and a history of achievement to FTA. She will be a valuable asset to the federal public transportation program and the Department's senior management team," he said.

More Public Transit Agencies Receive ARRA Funding

On June 10, FTA announced the award of an additional 77 ARRA grants totaling $909.4 million, which will fund public transit improvements in 27 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These grants bring the total amount to more than $1.4 billion in 31 states since ARRA passed. Ben Franklin Transit in Richland, WA, will receive $2.7 million, which will cover ongoing expansion costs for the agency’s base of operations. Texas DOT will use its $32.8 million in ARRA funds to finance the replacement of 277 buses and the addition of 85 new buses in existing fleets throughout the state, as well as construction of an intermodal bus terminal and a park-and-ride lot. The city of Seattle will receive $1.3 million, which will support transit maintenance and safety upgrades to the Seattle Monorail and South Lake Union Streetcar. In State College, PA, the Centre Area Transportation Authority will receive $1.7 million from ARRA for the rebuilding of up to 10 buses in its fleet. Community Transit in Snohomish County, WA, will replace 22 buses—seven double-deckers and 15 40-foot vehicles—with its $14.1 million in ARRA funds. Connecticut DOT will purchase one 45-foot express commuter bus, to replace the existing vehicle already operating in the I-84 high-occupancy vehicle lane between Hartford and Vernon.

Bipartisan Center Releases Transportation Policy Report

The Bipartisan Policy Center's National Transportation Policy Project has issued its recommendations for the upcoming surface transportation authorization bill. The report underscores the crucial importance of making long-needed investments in transportation infrastructure, as well as the need for greater regional coordination and visioning efforts.

Save the Date

APTA's 2009 Sustainability and Public Transportation Workshop, August 2-4 in Salt Lake City, is the premier event on best practices in sustainable public transportation.  On the agenda are cutting-edge speakers and presenters with real-world experience.  You will learn how transit systems can improve efficiency, save money, lessen environmental impacts, and promote land-use strategies that encourage public transit ridership.

In the Media

The New York Times featured an article on the transportation authorization bill.

Vice President Biden is optimistic about a Midwestern high-speed rail network, according to The Chicago Tribune.

The Huffington Post reported that Commerce Secretary Gary Locke believes much of the automobile manufacturing infrastructure could be used to build rail cars.

And CNN discussed the construction of New York City's new rail tunnel.


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