APTA | Passenger Transport Express
  December 10, 2010

News Headlines

House Passes Continuing Resolution, Sends to Senate

The House of Representatives on Dec. 8 passed a continuing resolution extending federal programs through Sept. 30, 2011, including surface transportation programs, at fiscal year 2010 levels. The Senate is expected to amend the bill to become an omnibus appropriations bill.

In addition, a procedural vote is scheduled in the Senate for Monday, Dec. 13, on a tax bill that would extend the federal commuter benefit tax credit at the $230-per-month level for one year, rather than revert to $120 per month on Dec. 31. The bill would also extend the alternative fuels tax credit retroactively, through 2011.

APTA members are encouraged to urge their senators to support the inclusion of the alternative fuels tax credit and the commuter tax benefit in the final tax package.

Look to upcoming issues of Passenger Transport for details as they develop.

Mica Confirmed as Chairman of Transportation & Infrastructure Committee

As expected, Rep. John Mica (R-FL) was elected the new chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Dec. 8, by a vote of the House Republican Conference--in effect confirming his transition from ranking member to chairman. In his new role, Chairman Mica will lead the committee in writing the long-awaited six-year surface transportation authorization bill.

"On behalf of public transportation systems and businesses throughout the nation, heartfelt congratulations to Chairman Mica," said APTA President William Millar. "He has been a strong advocate for public transportation, and we look forward to continuing our great working relationship in the years to come.  Our industry stands ready to work with Chairman Mica and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on legislation important to the public transit industry--beginning with the next surface transportation authorization bill next year.”

In addition, Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) was selected to chair the House Appropriations Committee, to replace outgoing Chairman David Obey (D-WI).

LaHood Shifts OH, WI High-Speed Rail Funds to 12 Other States

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced on Dec. 9 that $1.195 billion in high-speed rail funds originally designated for Wisconsin and Ohio will be redirected to 12 other states. California will receive up to $624 million, Florida up to $342.3 million, and Washington State up to $161.5 million. The funds were originally slated for Wisconsin’s Milwaukee-Madison corridor ($810 million) and for Ohio’s Cincinnati-Columbus-Cleveland “3C” route ($385 million).

U.S. Named as 2012 UIC High-Speed Rail Conference Site; APTA to Host

The Washington, DC, area has been chosen as the site of the next International Union of Railways (UIC) World Congress on High-Speed Rail, to be held in September 2012, with APTA as the conference host. UIC Director General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux announced the news on Dec. 8 at the 2010 World Congress on High-Speed Rail in Beijing, where APTA President William Millar was among the speakers.

New, Safer Rail Car Based on Input from APTA, Others

Metrolink on Dec. 13 will usher into service its new, safer commuter rail vehicles, obtained using  a new procurement specification developed in partnership with APTA. The stainless steel cars are designed using Crash Energy Management (CEM) principles and enhanced structural strength of vehicle car bodies and cabs.

Americans Save More Than $9,500 by Using Public Transit

APTA's final Transit Savings Report of 2010 has found that riding public transportation saves individuals on average $9,581 annually--a savings of more than $400, compared with the same time last year, and up to $798 per month based on the December 7, 2010 average national gas price and the national unreserved monthly parking rate.

Save the Date

Just One Week Left To Enter Call Center Challenge

Friday, Dec. 17, 2010 is the entry deadline for the annual APTA Call Center Challenge, to be held at the 2011 Marketing & Communications Workshop in San Diego, CA, on March 1. Don't miss the opportunity to show off the skills of your public transit system's front line of customer service: your call center staff.

In the Media

Minnesota Public Radio included a look back on the career of outgoing T&I Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN).

The Daily Telegraph of London featured a valiant rescue (captured on video) of a person who fell onto the subway tracks.

Bus-based love poetry was a subject of a recent article in The New York Times.

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