|June 26, 2009|
News HeadlinesPresident Signs Supplemental Appropriations Bill with Transit Operating Assistance Provision
President Obama on June 24 signed a bill that includes a provision allowing public transit agencies to use up to 10 percent of their American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) formula funds to cover operating costs of “equipment and facilities for use in public transportation.”
Washington Metro Train Accident Under Investigation
Since the tragic rail accident on June 22, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has been working with the National Transportation Safety Board to determine the cause of the fatal Red Line collision. The accident has brought attention to the need for investment in critical infrastructure. In addition, APTA has been communicating with the media to assure the public that public transit is one of the safest ways to travel. According to the National Safety Council, rail travel is 14
times safer than auto travel.
House Climate Bill to Include Partial Eligibility for Transit; APTA Urges Dedicated Investment
Reps. Henry Waxman (D-CA), James Oberstar (D-MN), Anthony Weiner (D-NY), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), and Doris Matsui (D-CA) on June 23 announced an agreement to allow states to use up to 1 percent of funding from H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), to invest in transportation projects that reduce greenhouse gases.
In its original version, ACES did not include transportation projects among the investments eligible for funding. However, APTA and its members were vocal in requesting that public transit be included.
Sept. 15 Deadline for Supplemental TIGER Grants
In the June 17 Federal Register, DOT announced a Sept. 15 deadline for supplemental discretionary grants for capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure under ARRA, referring specifically to the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Discretionary Grants Program.
The latest notice incorporates comments received on the proposed selection criteria and guidance for awarding TIGER Discretionary Grants, as requested through a May 18 notice.
FTA Releases 54 More ARRA Grants Totaling $346 Million; OMB Clarifies Reporting Requirements
On June 19, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced that FTA had awarded 54 more grants totaling $346.2 million in ARRA funds. These grants bring the total amount of ARRA funding awarded to public transit agencies to $1.79 billion.
Scott Urges Ways & Means Committee to Invest in Public Transit; T&I Subcommittee Approves Draft Authorization Bill
In testimony before a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on surface transportation investment needs, APTA Chair Beverly A. Scott, urged the Committee to adopt APTA’s recommendations for the upcoming surface transportation authorization bill.
Following a five-hour markup session June 24, the Highways and Transit Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee approved the draft surface transportation authorization bill released last week by T&I Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN). The measure passed by voice vote, with no amendments. However, most of the session, presided over by Subcommittee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR), entailed statements by subcommittee members praising the Committee
for its work on the bill and expressing dissatisfaction with the Administration’s push for an extension rather than a full six-year authorization.
SEPTA’s Casey Testifies on ARRA Funding Before House Committee
Joseph Casey, general manager of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), represented APTA when he testified on his agency’s projects funded with ARRA grants at a June 25 hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. At the hearing, dedicated to a 120-day review of the stimulus grant program, Casey discussed ARRA-funded SEPTA projects that have replaced 90-year-old track and overhauled bridges dating to 1905. FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff and
FRA Administrator Joseph Szabo also described the successful implementation of the program by public transit agencies nationwide.
More Details Available for Dump the Pump Video Contest
APTA’s recently announced National Dump the Pump Day video contest now features an online toolkit for public transit systems to use, available on the APTA web site. Full contest rules and instructions are also now available.
The contest is open to all members of the public (other than employees of APTA, its members, or their immediate families). Entries are due by Aug. 13.
The June 18 event brought more than 100 public transportation systems together to promote public transportation as a way for individuals to save money and help the environment.
Save the Date
Fawn Germer, a best-selling author of five books and a former writer for The Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report and The Miami Herald, joined the speaker lineup for APTA’s 2009 Annual Meeting, scheduled for October 4-7 in Orlando, Florida. Germer has personally interviewed more of the world’s greatest leaders than any other speaker in the United States. From those leaders, Ms. Germer learned how to
take advantage of adversity and use it as a defining leadership opportunity and will share her story with annual meeting attendees.
In the Media
Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood was interviewed by the Oklahoman.
A 92-year-old British woman still serving as a station master has been named a Member of the British Empire, the BBC reported.
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