|August 6, 2010|
News HeadlinesSenate Committee Amends, Passes Livable Communities Act
The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs on August 3 approved the Livable Communities Act. Introduced by Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-CT), the bill formally authorizes the interagency partnership among DOT, HUD, and EPA in addition to establishing two competitive grant programs. These programs would provide resources to ensure that community and regional planning is a comprehensive, interdisciplinary process incorporating transportation, housing, energy, and environmental considerations.
The legislation authorizes $475 million over four years for the Comprehensive Planning Grant Program, as well as $2.2 billion over three years for the Challenge Grant Program to fund projects identified in comprehensive regional plans, such as transit-oriented development, public transit infrastructure and facilities, and other community improvements.
Tax-Break Extenders Bill Could See Senate Vote in September
A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said he expects a tax-break extenders bill to receive a floor vote this September. This bill could be a vehicle for a number of tax provisions APTA is seeking, including the tax break for the purchase of natural gas, which expired last year. It could also include a provision to retain after December 31 the transit commuter tax benefit's cap of $230, so that it remains equal to the tax benefit for commuter parking. The current level
reflects an increase from $120 per month, brought about by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in February 2009.
Recent Wins Continue Long Trend of Pro-Transit Ballot Victories
On August 3, voters in Michigan approved several pro-transit ballot initiatives, further demonstrating that Americans are willing to invest their own money to support and improve public transportation in their communities.
Voters in Saginaw passed by nearly 65 percent a five-year, 3-mill tax to help fund the Saginaw Transit Authority Regional Services bus system. In Flint, voters countywide renewed the Mass Transportation Authority’s 0.4-mill, five-year tax to support “Your Ride” with 63 percent. And in Lansing's Ingham County, a measure passed that will increase and renew tax levies for Capital Area Transportation Authority.
Telling Our Story: Help Complete the Map!
We need your help to complete the map! The Telling Our Story map of the U.S. shows the states where people have so far submitted video and written testimonials about why public transit is valuable to them. You can help by asking your riders to appear in your own video and submitting the testimonials from your riders to the site.
APTA will feature the testimonials in a September 22 event in Washington, DC, urging Congress to pass surface transportation authorization now. Additionally, we encourage you to promote the National Public Transit Petition in your community, which will also be presented at the event.
Engage your community and lend your voice as we tell our story to the leaders of our nation.
Save the Date
Don't miss the 2010 APTA Annual Meeting, October 3-6 in the beautiful city of San Antonio. It's your chance to learn about all aspects of public transportation, to network with the leaders of our industry, and to find solutions to the challenges you face.
In the Media
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood noted in his FastLane blog that he recently found himself a category on the game show Jeopardy!
A man left a certified check worth $200,000 on Vancouver's SkyTrain--and thanks to the honest and diligent transit employees, he got it back in short order, The Province newspaper reported.
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