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June 24, 2011
Sen. Menendez, 24 Colleagues Demand Adequate Transit Funding

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), chair of the Senate Banking Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development -- which holds jurisdiction over public transportation -- was the lead signatory (supported by 24 colleagues) on a letter sent to the Senate Finance Committee June 23 urging that public transit receive adequate resources in a surface transportation authorization bill.  This letter seeks such funding in the face of a possible 31 percent cut by the House.

FTA Publishes Complete Listing of NOFAs in the Federal Register

FTA announced today its full schedule of Notices of Funding Availability (NOFAs).  This listing will make transit agencies and communities aware of the entire slate of programs from which they can choose.  Rogoff, who announced his intent to do this at APTA's recent Rail Conference, took this step in response to suggestions from APTA members and grantees.

Millar Testifies at House T&I Hearing

APTA President William Millar testified June 22 before the full House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on a draft bill -- "Competition for Intercity Passenger Rail in America Act of 2011" -- introduced by Chairman John L. Mica (R-FL) and Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Waste Subcommittee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA).  The bill would direct Amtrak to transfer to the DOT secretary the Northeast Corridor (NEC) rolling stock and other equipment used to provide intercity passenger rail service on the NEC and create a competitive bidding process for the operation and maintenance of passenger rail service, including high-speed passenger rail service on the NEC.  The bill would also allow states, groups of states, and public agencies to solicit competitive bids to operate intercity passenger rail service under cost share agreements with states on routes of up to 750 miles.

Because the draft bill had been introduced only days earlier and the hearing was scheduled on short notice, Millar explained that APTA was still reviewing the bill's impact on APTA’s diverse member organizations.  He noted that the NEC is one of the most complex rail corridors in the world, with an enormous number of passengers and thousands of intercity and commuter trains using the corridor each day.  Millar expressed appreciation for the committee’s effort to encourage the development of high-speed passenger rail on the NEC and to attract private sector investment in the form of public-private partnerships in the provision of intercity and high-speed passenger rail service.  He emphasized, however, that APTA does not view public-private financing as a substitute for adequate federal investment in the nation’s transportation infrastructure and asserted that the bill should be considered as part of a larger, well-funded six-year multimodal surface transportation bill that provides predictable federal funding for all of the modes. 

The committee is expected to mark up the bill in July.  It could be considered as a stand alone, but is more likely to be brought to the full House of Representatives as part of a larger, long-term authorization bill.

TSA's Pistole, Others Provide Testimony on Capitol Hill

At a hearing of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs on "See Something, Say Something, Do Something: Next Steps for Securing Rail and Transit," legislators supported increased rail security after evidence found at Osama bin Laden’s compound showed he was plotting terrorist attacks against U.S. passenger trains.  Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials testified about the steps they are taking to protect public transit passengers in the U.S.

TSA Administrator John Pistole said: "Due to the large populations and substantial infrastructure served by mass transit and national railroad systems, these networks remain a target for terrorist groups.  Moreover, an open architecture connecting millions of passengers in major metropolitan areas creates inherent potential security vulnerabilities."

DOT Secretary LaHood Announces Availability of Up to $175 Million in 'Livability' Grants

DOT Secretary Ray LaHood has announced the availability of up to $175 million in livability grants to help urban, suburban, and rural communities develop public transportation options to better connect people to where they live, work, and play.  With the announcement June 20 in the Federal Register, FTA has begun accepting applications.

Tick Tock: Nomination Time is Running Out

It's not too late to submit your nominations for positions on APTA's Board of Directors and its Executive Committee!  But it will be if you delay .........


Don’t miss out on APTA's next Sustainability and Public Transportation Workshop: The Value of Sustainability: Increasing Quality, Efficiency and Community Benefits in an Ever-Changing Environment, July 31- August 3 in Los Angeles.

Participate in L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority's educational tours on Sunday afternoon!  Hear international perspectives and learn sustainable practices, planning, operations, and design that will add value to your organization and to your community!

The deadline for early registration has been extended to Monday, June 27.  So register today and SAVE!  See the online preliminary program for a detailed overview of session descriptions, or contact Rich Weaver.


What makes a "convenient" city?  According to Walk Score, it's a city that is both walkable and has easy access to public transportation, which in turn means easy access to work, schools, doctors, supermarkets, and anywhere else someone wants to go.  Based on data from Walk Score, the real estate site Zillow, and APTA, here are America's 10 most convenient cities.

Read in the Economist how an airport light rail link made a UK traveler quite happy.

If thinking of taking the subway in Boston doesn't get your toes tapping, perhaps you should take in “T: An MBTA Musical,’’ a scripted show opening Thursday at ImprovBoston in Cambridge.

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