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January 18, 2013
House Approves Superstorm Sandy Relief Bill
The House approved a $50 billion Superstorm Sandy relief bill on Jan. 15. By a vote of 241-180, the bill passed with a bipartisan coalition and included an amendment offered by Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) that would authorize a total of $10.9 billion for public transportation recovery and mitigation and other funding for transportation and regional recovery.
Chairman Shuster Announces T&I Leadership
This week, Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) announced the committee leadership he intends to appoint for the 113th Congress.  The committee’s Vice Chairman will be Rep. John Duncan Jr. (R-TN), the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit will be overseen by Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI)  and the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials will be chaired by Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA). Full coverage of the makeup of the committee will be included in the Jan. 28 edition of Passenger Transport.

IRS Procedures for Retroactive Commuter Tax Benefit Released
The recently passed fiscal cliff bill included restoration of the commuter tax benefits. This raised benefits from $125 per month to parity with the parking benefit. The IRS has issued instructions for employers and employees to take advantage of the retroactivity feature through a “special administrative procedure." Separately, guidance from the IRS also provided a cost of living increase raising the level to $245.

APTA Chair Flora Castillo on Martin Luther King Jr. Day
APTA Chair Flora Castillo, in a statement released today, cited the efforts of public transit systems as they honor the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. this holiday weekend. 
“From the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to serving as the primary mode of travel for those attending the second Inauguration of the first African-American president in Washington, DC, public transportation has evolved into a mode of transportation for people from all walks of life," Castillo stated.
“Many across America will be participating in a day of service to honor Dr. King and public transportation will be there to get Americans to their destination as they unselfishly come to the aid of their fellow citizens," she said.  The statement cited several specific ways systems were participating and underscored the importance of the public transit industry that employs 400,000 people.

Is Your New Year's Resolution to Save Money? Public Transit Can Help
Whether your New Year’s resolution involves saving money to use toward a gym membership, a vacation, or socking away more toward retirement, public transit can help beef up your savings. 
According to the APTA's January Transit Savings Report, individuals who ride public transportation instead of driving can save, on average, more than $875 this month, and $10,502 annually.


The early bird registration deadline for APTA’s 2013 Legislative Conference is Jan. 25. The conference runs from March 10-12, and attendees will have the opportunity to participate in sessions with key members of Congress, Hill staff, administration officials, and Washington opinion makers.


Murder on the Orient Express has nothing on Toronto's TTC’s Murder in Passing. Subway riders will have the chance to take part in solving a film-noir whodunit in 30-second installments four days a week that repeat every 10 minutes until March 1.
The New York Transit Museum hosted a trivia night with questions all related to the New York subway system. A mix of public transit and pop culture questions included songs, legends, and films associated with underground New York.
All signs point to an American electorate that supports public transportation. The recent APTA poll that was included in APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy's State of the Public Transportation Industry article and the latest Natural Resources Defense Council findings both point to higher voter approval of ballot initiatives. 

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