APTA | Passenger Transport Express
September 4, 2009

News Headlines

FTA Exceeds Goal: Nearly 90% of ARRA Funds Awarded

The Federal Transit Administration announced on August 31 that, in partnership with the nation’s public transit systems, it had surpassed its goal of providing all communities in the nation with 50 percent of their funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act by September 1. So far, $6.7 billion has been provided to nearly 600 transit providers, FTA reported.

More ARRA Funds Put to Work

Public transit systems continue to use their ARRA funds to make needed upgrades. The city of Torrance, CA, received a $4.5 million grant to buy new 40-foot alternative-fuel buses, replacing eight aging vehicles—a project that would have waited another 1-2 years without federal assistance. Metro Transit in Madison, WI, will use its $9.7 million for the purchase of 17 hybrid 40-foot buses, as well as four 25-foot paratransit vehicles and one light-duty accessible van; the remainder will fund electronic display signs that will announce next-bus arrivals in real time within 10 minutes. In Salem, OR, Salem-Keizer Transit received $3.9 million for repairs to its downtown transit mall and completion of a transit center, as well as eight replacement buses, one expansion bus, and automated fareboxes.

Senate to Take Up Climate Change Bill

APTA is encouraging its members to contact their U.S. senators in support of transit funding in the upcoming Senate climate change legislation. Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is expected to introduce a new bill in September.  APTA supports the Clean Low-Emissions Affordable New Transportation Equity Act (CLEAN-TEA) proposal, which would designate 10 percent of emission allowances for new investment in public transit and other strategies that reduce vehicular emissions. A 10 percent allocation would be worth approximately $10 billion annually.  The “American Clean Energy Security Act” passed by the House of Representatives in May makes less than 1 percent of emission allowances eligible for transportation investment, and zero investment is guaranteed for transit.

In addition, APTA will hold a webinar on Thursday, September 10, at 4 p.m. EST, on the topic of climate change, to include discussion of this bill.

Annual Meeting Update: LaHood to Make Keynote Address in Orlando

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood confirmed last week that he will attend the 2009 APTA Annual Meeting in Orlando next month and will provide the keynote address at the opening general session.

Monday, September 7, is the cutoff date for receiving APTA’s special group rate on lodging.  After that date, rooms will be available on a space-available basis.

In the Media

The New York Times published a feature on the conversion to exact-change fare collection on New York City buses, approximately 40 years ago.

Governing magazine discussed how the late Paul Weyrich viewed his lifetime of advocacy for public transportation as consistent with his conservative political views.

A rail museum in the United Kingdom has named a six-year-old boy its “Director of Fun,” BBC News reported.

The blog ReadWriteWeb discussed Japan Railway’s “Super Urban Intelligent Card” (SUICA), which allows riders to pay for kiosk purchases in addition to rail fare.


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