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April 29, 2011
$100 Million Awarded to Caltrans for Inter-City Rail

DOT Secretary Ray LaHood announced on Wednesday a $100 million grant  to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to purchase domestically manufactured rail passenger cars and locomotives for the Pacific Surfliner and San Joaquin corridors.

“With gas prices at record highs, President Obama is committed to making sure Americans can choose safe, efficient passenger rail options for reaching their destinations,” said LaHood. “Thanks to this investment in new, American-made cars and locomotives, Californians will continue to enjoy the congestion relief, economic growth, and affordable travel provided by these popular rail lines.”

This money will allow Caltrans to purchase 27 bi-level intercity rail passenger cars and two diesel-electric intercity locomotives that comply with uniform standards that create a level playing field allowing U.S.-based manufacturers to more effectively compete.

FTA's Rogoff Opens Second Meeting of Rail Transit Safety Oversight Group

FTA Administrator Peter M. Rogoff convened the second meeting of the Transit Rail Advisory Committee for Safety (TRACS), which focused on the best models for state safety oversight partnerships and effective safety planning by local transit agencies.  The two-day meeting took place April 27 and 28 in Washington, DC.

“Safety is our highest priority and we are committed to keeping transit one of the safest modes of transportation in the nation,” said DOT Secretary Ray LaHood.  “The work of TRACS will be invaluable to FTA’s ability to establish and enforce safety standards when Congress approves the Public Transportation Safety Program Act.”

"This effort is solely about the safety of the transit employees and riders who comprise the ten billion passenger rides provided each year by public transportation across the country,” said Rogoff.  “For the well being of those riders and workers, Congress needs to rescind an antiquated 1960s era law that forbids the federal government from issuing even the most basic safety regulations. TRACS is a critically important tool that will ensure that the FTA does this job smartly and efficiently once Congress acts."

Survey Reveals America's 25 Greenest Cities

Newsweek’s The Daily Beast conducted a survey to determine America’s 25 Greenest Cities
It based its survey on five elements, including the average number of weekday trips on public transportation.  The top three?  New York City, Las Vegas, and San Francisco.

2011 APTA National Transportation Career Day
APTA National Public Transportation Career Day is May 12.  Our goal is to have every transit agency, private transit company, and private business members host an activity that will help to enrich the lives of our youth. So make plans to take this opportunity to teach and mentor our nation’s youth about the many and varied job opportunities in the public transportation industry.


Two great tours are planned in New Orleans in October, at APTA's Annual Meeting and EXPO.  First, RTA is using a TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant to expand its streetcar line so passengers can connect from the RTA network to Amtrak and Greyhound, creating a new intermodality.  A second major project is expanding streetcar service to the neighborhoods around the French Quarter.  You'll travel those routes. 

And then, don't miss out on the technical tour of the New Carrollton facility, where RTA teams construct new streetcars by hand, using time-honored techniques from the past, which preserve the streetcars’ status as National Historic Landmarks.


Steven Harrod, Ph.D., an assistant professor of operations management at the University of Dayton who specializes in the topic of railway operations management, wrote a fact-filled, comprehensive op-ed for CNN, entitled "Riled about rail:  Why all the anger over high speed trains?".

Connecticut’s State Police Mass Transit Security Unit has gone to the dogs, so to speak … Starting this week, five specially trained yellow Labrador retrievers will be on duty with their handlers as part of a new anti-terrorism unit.

“Public transportation is the way to go, it’s one of the ways to keep emissions low.” Lyrics from a rap song -- from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)?  Yes!  The EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection wants to engage children in climate change – so it has recorded a downloadable song called “Click It-Flip It,” with the intent that kids live more sustainable lifestyles.

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