House, Senate Mark Up FY 2011 Appropriations Bills
The House and Senate Appropriations Committees this week each passed a version of the Fiscal Year 2011 appropriations bill that funds public transportation.
These committee votes pave the way for the bill to move forward in Congress. It remains unclear whether the bill would be considered separately or as part of omnibus legislation for multiple federal agencies.
The House Appropriations Committee's FY 2011 bill would include $11.3 billion for public transportation--roughly half a billion dollars more than both the president's request and last year's level. The bill passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee would include $10.8 billion for public transportation, nearly the same amount provided in FY 2010.
For high-speed rail, the House committee version would provide $1.4 billion. The Senate committee version would provide $1 billion, the same as the president's request. This is below the $2.5 billion provided in FY 2010. Positive train control would receive $150 million from the Senate committee, versus $75 million from the House; both represent significant increases over the $50 million in the FY 2010 appropriation.
Either bill if passed would require an extension of the surface transportation authorization law, set to expire December 31. The House bill's significant increase in funding would also require legislation to raise the program authority for public transit.
Look for more details in the July 23 APTA Legislative Alert.
Obama Encourages Federal Workers to Use Public Transit to Help Cut Carbon Emissions
President Barack Obama announced on July 20 that the administration will strive to reduce the federal government's greenhouse gas emissions 13 percent by 2020, in part by encouraging federal employees to commute less and to use public transportation when they do.
APTA has noted that this will be made more possible if Congress takes action to extend the federal employee benefit of paid transit fare to all federal employees, and not just those in the Washington, DC, area and certain federal agencies nationwide. In addition, APTA is encouraging Congress to extend the commuter tax benefit for public transit at its current level; without action, the $230 monthly benefit will revert to $115.
FTA: Nearly $80 Billion Needed to Bring Public Transit Into State of Good Repair
The FTA on July 21 released a study finding that the nation's rail and bus systems need $77.7 billion to reach a state of good repair, plus $14.4 billion annually to maintain them. The National State of Good Repair Assessment is a follow-up to the 2009 Rail Modernization Study and includes data from 36 additional urban and rural rail and bus systems.
APTA Members, Riders Help Tell Our Story to Congress
As part of APTA's Telling Our Story initiative, APTA members are encouraged to go to the Telling Our Story website to sign and promote the national petition urging Congress to pass an authorization bill as soon as possible.
The website also features public transit riders' video testimonials about the value of public transit in their lives.
Please visit the site, sign the petition, and send it to your employees, riders and stakeholders to sign. Look for more information in next week's Passenger Transport.
Save the Date
A meandering urban river, 18th-Century Spanish missions, the best enchiladas this side of Mexico, and more cutting-edge public transit knowledge than you can shake a farecard at?
It must be the 2010 APTA Annual Meeting--Oct. 3-6 in saucy, scenic San Antonio!
There's still time to register, so act now.
In the Media
Talk about "light" rail: The Charlotte Observer reported findings from a study that regular riders of Charlotte's LYNX light rail lost weight, compared with those who did not ride.
An affliction-rapping physician has, at the request of New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority and MTA Long Island Rail Road, written and performed a rap to educate children about the dangers of standing too close to the edge of the subway platform, The New York Times reported.
The blog Flavorwire featured 10 creative subway ads from around the world.