APTA | Passenger Transport Express
February 12, 2010

News Headlines

Reid Unveils Scaled-Down Jobs Bill; Extends SAFETEA-LU but Excludes 'Tax-Extenders'

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) surprised his colleagues this week by offering a scaled-down jobs package that includes an extension of the surface transportation authorization at Fiscal Year 2009 levels through December 31, 2010. However, the package excludes a number of provisions expected to be extended before they expire on February 28, as well as a number of tax provisions (such as the alternative fuels tax credit) that had expired at the close of calendar year 2009. The bipartisan Senate Finance Committee leadership had released a draft jobs bill that included the extension of surface transportation programs but also extended many of the other sought after provisions.

The current Senate jobs package does not include additional dollars for infrastructure. Prior Senate drafts had included infrastructure funding for public transit, high-speed rail, and highways. Negotiations are continuing, but further action on the jobs bill will not take place until Congress returns from the Presidents’ Day recess on February 22.

UIC/APTA High-Speed Rail Practicums a Success

The three International Practicums on Implementing High-Speed Rail in the United States, held by APTA and the International Union of Railways (UIC), were a well-attended, rousing success, despite a major storm in Chicago and a record-setting pair of back-to-back blizzards in Washington, DC. Despite airport closures, top officials from UIC traveled from overseas to participate in all three practicums. More details will be available in the February 15 technology issue of Passenger Transport.

Public Transit Systems Around Nation Face Weather Challenges

Public transit systems in different parts of the United States have recently faced historic weather-related challenges. In addition to the widely reported blizzard affecting the Mid-Atlantic and New England, a blizzard also struck the Chicago region last week.

More unusually, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) battled a record-breaking 11 inches of snow to provide bus and rail service. All over North Texas, ice accumulations on highways and bridges posed challenges to public transportation systems.

Snow also blanketed parts of Northwest Florida and was expected at press time to fall in South Carolina and Georgia as well.

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In the Media

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority's "Did You Find Love on SEPTA?" contest.

According to the entertainment industry news Web site Ace Showbiz, CBS will require participants in "The Amazing Race" to use public transportation in Santiago, Chile, during the first stage of the upcoming season.

The Missourian reported that public transportation was among the leading topics at a recent mayoral candidates' forum.

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