|May 24, 2013|
|Smooth Ride So Far for DOT Nominee Foxx|
Charlotte, NC, Mayor Anthony Foxx (D), President Obama’s nominee for DOT secretary, cleared the first hurdle in his confirmation process during a May 22 hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. Foxx said in his testimony that his priorities as secretary would be safety, efficiency, and expansion. The Senate Commerce Committee will next seek to schedule an Executive Session to consider and vote on the Foxx nomination. Once the Committee approves the
nomination, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will bring it to the full Senate. Obama nominated Foxx to succeed outgoing DOT Secretary Ray LaHood. Read the APTA statement on Foxx’s nomination.
Bipartisan Caucus to Address Public Transportation Challenges
Reps. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and Michael Grimm (R-NY) announced on May 23 the formation of the Congressional Public Transportation Caucus to focus on how best to respond to the increasing demand for public transportation nationwide. Lipinski, who serves on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and Grimm will co-chair the caucus. Joseph Costello, executive director of Chicago's Regional Transportation Authority, and founding member of the advocacy group Getting America to Work, was
instrumental in the effort. APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy said, "We look forward to working with the caucus as it advocates for pro-transit policies as Congress begins the process of reauthorization of MAP-21."
LaHood Announces Additional $3.7 Billion for Post-Sandy Recovery
DOT Secretary Ray LaHood announced on May 23 an additional $3.7 billion in disaster relief funds to help the four hardest-hit public transit agencies—Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York, the New York City Department of Transportation, New Jersey Transit Corporation, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. In addition to supporting ongoing post-storm recovery efforts, nearly one-third of the money, available through the FTA Emergency Relief Program, is
set aside to help the agencies begin investing in resiliency projects to help ensure that transit assets are better able to withstand future disasters. To date, FTA has allocated $5.7 billion to Hurricane Sandy recovery, including this additional amount just announced.
More City Tourists Expected to Use Public Transit
As temperatures rise and schools close, more than 126 million Americans are planning to vacation in a city this year, a 7 percent increase over 2012, reports APTA’s annual “Travel Like a Local" survey. And about 56 percent of those tourists (70 million people) plan on using public transportation for at least one activity, with millennials, individuals ages 18-24,
leading the way. The five most popular cities for summer travel are New York City, Miami, Chicago, Orlando, and San Francisco.
SAVE THE DATE
Attending APTA’s 2013 Rail Conference, June 2-5 in Philadelphia? There’s still time to sign up for a day of golf on June 1 (before the conference begins) at the Wyncote Golf Club, a “heathland” style course located in Chester County, PA. The outing features a 7:30 a.m. start, an awards presentation, and barbecue lunch. Sign up here.
IN THE MEDIA
APTA’s standards for railcars helped establish new design benchmarks for stronger railcar frames, guidelines that likely helped save lives in the recent MTA Metro-North Railroad derailment in Connecticut, reports a bloomberg.com article.
Chicago Transit Authority officials marked the kickoff this week of the Red Line South Reconstruction Project, a $425 million rebuilding of the line. Read more about one of the largest construction projects in CTA’s history.
Inductive charging is coming to public transportation in Long Beach, CA, with the addition of two wireless charging stations for its electric buses.