Bicameral High-Speed Rail Caucus Convenes
The founding members of the Congressional Bicameral High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail Caucus announced the formation of their coalition at a March 15 event on a rail platform at Washington, DC's Union Station. Members include Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Reps. Louise Slaughter (D-NY); Zoe Lofgren (D-CA); Corinne Brown (D-FL), ranking member of the Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure
Committee; John Olver (D-MA) who said: "High-speed rail must be a vital part of our healthy and balanced transportation system;" David Price (D-NC); and Tim Walz (D-MN). Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) will also join the delegation. APTA President William Millar attended the event and called the caucus members "the visionaries who are going to take the U.S. from the fourth world in rail technology to the first of the first world."
Other participants included Al Engel, vice president of high-speed rail for Amtrak; Patrick Henry Hayes, mayor of North Little Rock, AR; and Bill Bronte, chief of the Division of Rail for California DOT.
photo by todd parola photography
Rep. Tim Walz, foreground, speaks at the launch event for the Congressional Bicameral High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail Caucus at Washington's Union Station. Other participants include, from left: William Millar; Reps. Zoe Lofgren and John Olver; Al Engel; and Reps. Corrine Brown, Louise Slaughter, and David Price.
APTA Legislative Conference: LaHood Reaffirms Commitment to Industry
APTA's Legislative Conference held in Washington, DC this week attracted more than 650 attendees. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood was a featured speaker at Tuesday morning's session. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chair John Mica (R-FL), Rep. Corinne Brown (D-FL), Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-OH), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff, DOT Deputy Secretary John
Porcari, Deputy FRA Administrator Karen Rae, and former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson were among the many other distinguished speakers. LaHood told attendees: "You have a lot of friends at DOT and we consider you our partners in what we want to do in America." See the March 28 issue of Passenger Transport for expanded coverage of the sessions.
Study: $5 a Gallon Gas Could Spur Up to 1.5 Billion Additional Transit Trips
An APTA study released March 11 predicts that record numbers of Americans will turn to public transportation as regular gasoline prices continue to rise. The analysis reveals that if gas prices reach $4 a gallon across the nation, as many experts have forecast, an additional 670 million passenger trips could be expected, resulting in more than 10.8 billion trips per year. If pump prices jump to $5 a
gallon, the report predicts an additional 1.5 billion passenger trips, resulting in more than 11.6 billion trips per year. And, if prices were to soar to $6 a gallon, expectations go as high as an additional 2.7 billion passenger trips, resulting in more than 12.9 billion trips per year.
Many public transit systems across the country already saw increases in February, some reporting double digits. Ridership on the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority in Pompano Beach, FL, operator of Tri-Rail commuter rail, increased by 10.6 percent; Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority of Philadelphia, by 10 percent; and Utah Transit Authority in Salt Lake City, by 12 percent. APTA is calling on Congress to address this impending
demand by providing greater long-term investment in public transportation.
Tri-Rail's Giulietti Testifies on Positive Train Control
Yesterday, Joseph Giulietti, executive director, South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, testified on the Rail Safety Improvement Act and Positive Train Control (PTC) before the House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials, chaired by Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA). He urged Congress to extend the
implementation deadline from Dec. 31, 2015 to Dec. 31, 2018, to "provide adequate federal funding equal to 80 percent of the estimated $2 billion implementation costs on commuter railroads, and to direct the FCC to set aside, at no cost, enough radio frequency spectrum to ensure commuter railroads are successful in meeting the federal mandate." APTA President William Millar released a statement expressing the industry's "commitment to implement Positive Train Control as quickly as feasible." He echoed Giuletti in saying: "We fully support the implementation of PTC in advance of the Congressionally established deadline for those commuter railroads, such as the Southern California Regional Rail Authority and other California systems that have
committed to do so."
photo by todd parola photography
Joseph Giulietti of SFRTA/Tri-Rail, second from right, testifies before the House T&I Railroads Subcommittee. From left are Ed Hamberger, CEO and president, Association of American Railroads; Hubert (Obie) O'Bannon of AAR; Giulietti; and Paul Victor of the Anacostia & Pacific Railroad Company.
SAVE THE DATE
The 2011 International Practicum on Implementing High-Speed Rail in the United States, sponsored by APTA and the International Union of Railways, will be held May 3-5, at the Marriott Waterfront in Baltimore, MD.
Join international high-speed rail practitioners and top domestic rail experts for an in-depth workshop that will provide the critical information you need to implement high and higher speed rail in the United States. Space is limited so register now.
IN THE MEDIA
What do New Yorkers say is the most important problem facing their city? Three times as many registered voters surveyed say it's quality of transit service, according to a new poll by the Quinnipiac University Institute.
DOT Secretary Ray LaHood talked about APTA's Legislative Conference in his blog, noting that to "strengthen and improve public transportation is a goal DOT deeply believes in."
The Washington Post reports that the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is studying how people pick up visual clues about which train to take. The Greater Greater Washington blog is holding a contest to design a map. Read more on this blog and visit here for the