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November 11, 2011
Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Advances Bipartisan Two-Year Highway Reauthorization

The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works unanimously approved the highway portion of a two-year bill on Nov. 9. The Senate Banking Committee must approve the transit portion of the bill and the Senate Finance Committee also needs to approve the tax portion before the bill can be considered by the Senate as a whole. The bill, as passed by committee, would continue the current level of funding while accounting for inflation and consolidate some programs to streamline the funding process. Once the bill is ready for the Senate floor it is expected to provide $109 billion for two years for highway and transit funding.

While the House was out of session this week it is expected that it will return next week, and decide on a path forward for transportation authorization.

More information on this activity is covered in this week's Legislative Alert.

Election Results Show Another Year of Strong Support for Public Transportation

Voters on Nov. 8 approved pro-transit ballot initiatives in Durham, NC, and Vancouver, WA, while defeating an anti-transit measure in Cincinnati, OH. A statewide initiative in Washington State that would place stricter restrictions on tolls and prevent use of funds for public transit was also defeated.

“People on the local level want, and deserve, safe, reliable public transportation services that enhance their quality of life,” said APTA President and CEO Michael P. Melaniphy. “Even though the economic downturn continues, Americans are showing at the ballot box that they are willing to invest in public transportation. This investment is critical as our population grows and demand for public transit services increases.”   

These results bring the total in 2011 to 22 victories in 28 public transit elections. Such numbers reflect a long-term trend: since 2000, more than 73 percent of public transit ballot measures have passed. This year's win rate of 79 percent also surpasses last year’s mark of a 77 percent passage rate. For more details, visit cfte.org.


Watch a short introductory video message from APTA President and CEO Michael P. Melaniphy.


Applications are now being accepted for the Annual APTA Call Center Challenge.  The Challenge recognizes the skills of transit call center personnel and serves as an outstanding training and development opportunity. The competition will be held in February in conjunction with the APTA 2012 Marketing & Communications Workshop in Miami, FL.  The application deadline is December 16.


Nearly 70 percent of Americans support infrastructure investment-- the highest ranked issue-- according to a recent United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection poll. However, their optimism that it would be addressed by year's end was not as high, with only 27 percent believing that it is very likely, or somewhat likely, that Congress will address the issue by then.

A recent study published in Environmental Health Perspectives reveals that communities with public transit are healthier than those without. Public transit helps riders increase their exercise with trips to the stations and also cuts down on smog and airborne pollutants that cause health problems.

While light rail continues to be a great option for communities, Metro Transit in the Twin Cities is looking at expanding bus rapid transit (BRT) in parts of the city that are not already prepared for light rail. Based on evidence from other cities, Metro Transit hopes that BRT will increase ridership 20-30 percent.

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