APTA | Passenger Transport Express
October 30, 2009

News Headlines

Congress Renews Extension of Transportation Programs Through Dec. 18

Both houses of Congress on October 29 passed a bill that will extend surface transportation programs and appropriations through December 18. The 2010 Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act includes the extension of SAFETEA-LU as part of a further continuing resolution providing appropriations for all departments of the federal government. The bill (H.R. 2996), will next go to the president for his signature.

Previous negotiations regarding a proposed six-month extension of SAFETEA-LU were unsuccessful.

LaHood, Millar Testify Before Senate on Climate Change Legislation

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and APTA President William Millar testified this week before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, chaired by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), to express support for climate change legislation under consideration, the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S. 1733), and to emphasize the critical role sustainable transportation plays in the nation's climate change efforts.

LaHood, who testified on October 27, noted that the Federal Transit Administration is funding a new synthesis on greenhouse gas emission savings from public transit, through the Transit Cooperative Research Program, and is developing a handbook for transit system managers on low carbon practices, as well as offering training on environmental management systems. Also testifying were the secretaries of energy and the interior, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Millar, testifying on October 29, stated that APTA "strongly endorses the bill’s proposed funding to expand and improve public transportation service throughout the country. ... It is now clear that if we only address vehicle efficiency (corporate average fuel economy standards) and the carbon content of our fuels, we will fall far behind in achieving environmental goals."

"Public transportation investment, transit-supportive land use policies and other strategies that promote transportation choices are proven ways to reduce emissions from the transportation sector, and they must be addressed in climate legislation. The transit industry and others who are interested in 'green' transportation are very pleased" with the bill's transportation provisions, Millar said. 

DOT Announces New Transportation Safety Council

The Department of Transportation has introduced a new Department of Transportation Safety Council, chaired by Deputy Transportation Secretary John Porcari. The council will address safety issues for all 10 agencies of the DOT: the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration, the Federal Transit Administration, the Maritime Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the Research and Innovative Technology Administration and the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. 

Save the Date

With the federal government's major investment in high-speed rail, APTA is partnering with the International Union of Railways to present the International Practicum on Implementing High-Speed Rail in the United States. Each regional practicum will focus on best practices and lessons learned from European and Asian systems, through the lens of America’s unique railroad operating environment.

Practicums will be held February 8-9 in Washington, DC; February 9-11 in Chicago; and February 11-13, in Los Angeles.

In the Media

Transportation Secretary LaHood's blog and The New York Times discussed how public transportation is reducing emissions through the purchase of hybrid buses.

The Wall Street Journal published an article reporting the financial burden that rail systems face in acquiring new safety equipment.

Bus Rapid Transit could be more viable with greater lane enforcement, according to The New York Times.


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