December 12, 2014
Congress Makes Progress on Appropriations Legislation
The House passed the Fiscal Year 2015 appropriations package on Dec. 11, which provides approximately $1.1 trillion for FY15 for all government programs. For public transportation, this includes $8.95 billion for core formula programs, $2.12 billion for Capital Investment Grants (New Starts), as well as $500 million for TIGER grants. Both the House and Senate also passed a continuing resolution (CR) extending by two days the existing stopgap legislation, allowing the Senate additional time to pass the appropriations bill. As of press time, policymakers are still working on the bill.
The House also passed the Tax Increase Prevention Act, which provides only for the retroactive extension of parity between employer-provided public transit and parking pre-tax/tax-free benefits for 2014. Although the retroactive provisions offer no immediate or practical benefit for public transit commuters or employers, their inclusion in a final bill will help in making parity permanent in the future. 
In addition, the House passed the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) on Dec. 10, which ensures that America's infrastructure has insurance protection against potential acts of terrorism. On Dec. 8, APTA sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging them to reauthorize TRIA.
» The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has an opening for a general manager and chief executive officer. [More]
» The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority is looking for a chief executive officer. [More]
» Culver CityBus is requesting proposals for a line-by-line and comprehensive analysis of its transit service. [More]
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FTA Opens Comments on ADA Circular

FTA opened comments on seven new chapters for its proposed Americans with Disabilities Act Circular, on Nov. 12. The proposed circular would affect virtually every public transit operation. APTA has requested a delay owing to the size and complexity of the proposal. However, the comment due date is currently set at Jan. 12, 2015. APTA will host a 90-minute conference call open to all members at 11:00 a.m. EST on Dec. 18. To join, please call (866) 951-1151 and enter conference room 9375720.  

Report: $163 Billion Needed Annually to Fix Transportation System

The "2015 Bottom Line Report" released by APTA and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) estimates that meeting current demand for America's infrastructure will require an annual capital investment over six years of $120 billion in the nation's highway and bridge network, and $43 billion in public transportation. “As the demand for public transportation increases, our systems are strained and in dire need of strong investment,” said APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy. Read the full report here.

Flowers Appointed to FTA

Carolyn Flowers, chief executive officer of the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS), was appointed by President Obama as senior adviser at FTA. Flowers has been with CATS since Jan. 2010, before which she was at Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Early bird registration is now open for APTA's 2015 Marketing & Communications Workshop, Feb 22-25 in West Palm Beach, FL. The workshop focuses on all aspects of public transit marketing and communications, including media relations, customer service, ridership initiatives, and best practices. Sign up now

Congress needs to raise the Gas Tax.
Investments in public transit have extensive economic benefits.
Public transportation can be a lifeline to Tribal Nations, according to DOT's "Fast Lane" blog.
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