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June 7, 2013
Congress Ensures Robust Public Transit Security Funding

The House passed the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2014 on June 6.  Included was an amendment that would ensure at least $97.5 million for public transportation security grants in FY2014 that will address much needed capital transit security improvements.

APTA Rail Conference Concludes in Philadelphia

The 2013 APTA Rail Conference held in Philadelphia from June 2 to June 5 was a ringing success, bringing together experts from across the industry to reflect on the past, assess the present, and discuss the future of rail in the United States. APTA Chair Flora Castillo and President & CEO Michael Melaniphy kicked off the conference, which was attended by nearly 1500 people. The Products and Services Showcase was particularly well-attended, featuring 81 exhibitors.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) won the top spot in the prestigious Rail Transit Team Achievement Award at the International Rail Rodeo, held in conjunction with the conference. Teams and individuals from across North America competed for the esteemed honor, recognizing the men and women who keep rail systems up and running every day. 

This year, APTA introduced the new Rail Safety & Excellence Awards, which exemplify the industry’s dedication to safety and security across all rail modes. Also new this year was a veterans’ job fair hosted by APTA and the US Chamber of Commerce, which attracted more than 100 persons.

Read much more about the conference in the next issue of Passenger Transport.

Study Reveals Growing Support for More Public Transit

Also at the conference, Castillo and Melaniphy announced the results of a new survey showing growing support for the expansion of public transportation. The survey, conducted for APTA by the Mineta Transportation Institute, shows that nearly 74 percent of respondents agreed to using their tax dollars to create, expand, and improve public transportation in their community. 

Nearly 88 percent of respondents agreed that public transit expands opportunities and provides access to new jobs and careers as well as to medical care, schools, and colleges.

APTA held a press event to announce the survey findings during the conference. Speakers included FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff; FRA Administrator Joseph Szabo; Joseph Casey, general manager, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority; and Edward Rendell, co-chair of Building America’s Future Educational Fund. 

Transportation Advocate Sen. Lautenberg Remembered

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), who passed away June 3, was a staunch advocate for public transportation, particularly rail. In a fitting tribute, his casket was brought to the New Jersey Transit Corporation's Secaucus' train station that bears his name on the way to his final resting place, Arlington National Cemetery.  Sen. Lautenberg received APTA’s National Distinguished Service Award in 1994 for his work on public transportation legislation.


Get ready! The 2013 Transit Board Members Seminar & Board Support Employee Development Workshop will be held on July 20-23 in Austin, TX. Educational sessions will cover such areas as the board’s fiduciary responsibility, planning, succession, ethics, legislative advocacy, community partnerships, and more.


Washington, DC, area officials released new data showing that the region is at the forefront of the move away from car travel toward public transit, biking, and walking. The region added half a million new workers between 2000 and 2011. During that period, public transit was the fastest-growing mode of travel for commuters, soaring from 11.8 percent to 15.4 percent, nearly a one-third increase.

Veterans in central and northern New Mexico can now expect one-call or one-click access to transportation information that will ensure swift, affordable rides to work, school, medical appointments, and other destinations, with $650,000 in funds from FTA. Those funds include $364,000 to upgrade a call center in the Santa Fe area and $282,500 to launch a new website in Albuquerque.

Many Americans are unsure about the amount of money they pay each month to maintain and improve the public transit, roads, and bridges they travel on, according to a new survey. But 75 to 80 percent of respondents said having safe, efficient, and well-maintained transportation infrastructure is essential to their personal livelihoods, according to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association.

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