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October 28, 2011
Senate to Vote on Fiscal Year 2012 Transportation Appropriations Bill
The Senate is scheduled to vote Oct. 31 on three FY 2012 appropriations bills, including the appropriations bill for the DOT. Currently included in the bill is $10.6 billion for FTA programs and $100 million for high-speed and intercity passenger rail. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has scheduled a markup on a possible two year authorization bill for Nov. 9. More information on these items and tips for contacting your senators on these votes are in this week’s Legislative Alert.
FTA Leads Information Sessions on Environmental Justice and Title VI
The FTA has renewed education efforts on Environmental Justice (EJ) and Title VI in transportation and project development. EJ is a movement to provide low-income and minority communities clean and healthy environments; Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin in federal programs and activities. The first session of this effort occurred last week in Kansas City, MO and outreach will be ongoing on both programs to ensure fairness and involvement of all people. Find sessions near you and RSVP for online sessions through fta.dot.gov.


Early registration is now open for the APTA 2012 Transit CEOs Seminar in Orlando, FL. Sessions range from discussions on leadership styles, funding and revenue resources, investments in transit-oriented development, as well as working with board and labor relations staff. Attendees will have the opportunity to network with colleagues from around the country about new management practices. 


Riders across the United States rely on their pre-tax commuter benefits to make their commutes easier on their pocketbooks. Unless Congress acts by the end of the year however, riders could see a decrease in these needed benefits. APTA is working with congressional advocates in the House and Senate to see that the benefit is extended in any tax legislation that might be considered late this year.
This blog post takes a look at public transportation’s version of archeology, digging through the history of New York City.  Today the straps and buttons riders push to stop the bus are connected to the electrical system, but back in 1830 it was attached directly to the driver’s ankle!
Politico spoke with two experts from the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission and the National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission in a recent article. Both said the federal highway and transit programs need change and Congress must take action. They said that funding for transportation continues to need significant increases and there should be long term changes to the way the nation looks at public transportation as a piece of American infrastructure.

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