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September 2, 2011
Obama Calls for Swift Passage of SAFETEA-LU Extension

President Obama urged Congress to pass an extension of the surface transportation authorization legislation before it expires Sept. 30. He explained the need to preserve and create jobs by investing in infrastructure. Acknowledging that the amount spent on infrastructure has decreased while the population of America has more than doubled, he urged for immediate renewal of the gas tax and a new conversation on America's infrastructure future.

APTA President William Millar applauded Obama for calling on Congress to pass an extension prior to Sept. 30. "Investing in public transportation creates jobs and provides easy access to jobs necessary to move the economy forward. It also addresses the country's backlog of critical infrastructure projects," he said after attending the Rose Garden event.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-FL) recently signaled consideration of a final extension to the transportation bill. Mica said, "I will agree to one additional highway program extension, this being the eighth of the overdue transportation authorization."

More details are available in this week's Legislative Alert.

DOT Announces Nearly $50 Million Investment in Texas Railways

On Sept. 1, DOT Secretary Ray LaHood announced almost $50 million in rail investment. Of that amount, $34 million is to relieve stress on the corridor from Dallas heading north toward the Oklahoma state line. This will speed rail travel and reduce traffic congestion by minimizing the conflict between rail and automobiles at crossings. While these changes will be occuring north of Dallas, DOT also announced $15 million to kick off engineering and environmental studies for a high-speed rail corridor between the urban cores of Dallas-Ft. Worth and Houston. This begins the process of connecting two of the largest cities in the nation with fast, reliable high-speed rail transit travel.

Boxer Tours Green Public Transit Facility

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Santa Clarita transit maintenance facility on Aug. 31. The facility has been steadily moving toward this day since it became the first green building in the city a few years ago. It is projected that these improvements will save the city more than $137,000 a year.  Boxer also used the event to discuss the need to renew the gas tax when Congress returns from August recess.

APTA to Kick Off "Public Transportation Works" Campaign

APTA is preparing for the return of Congress with a new initiative that demonstrates the value of federal investment in public transportation.  One of the ways members can participate is through the "Public Transportation Works" campaign. On apta.com members can find a toolkit to take part in this initiative along with ideas on how to raise public awareness of how federal dollars are being returned to the community in investments in public transit infrastructure.


The APTA Annual Meeting and EXPO WTS breakfast on Oct. 5 will feature Ann Tardy who will give tips on managing and taking charge of life. Additionally, technical tours of the New Orleans Streetcar Expansion Project are availible to see the TIGER funds at work in the city!


Montreal, Quebec has been facing a problem of significant traffic congestion which has led to a renewed focus on public transportation. Recently the announcement was made that Quebec will be investing $100 million into how to alleviate this issue. 

Staten Islanders may be a hard group to impress but they are giving the New York MTA high marks for their stewardship of the system and quick return to service after Hurricane Irene.

So many options... Los Angeles is considering how to better connect LAX to public transit. While the city weighs the options, it is going directly to the residents they serve for input: rapid bus, light rail, and automated people movers are all on the table. 

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