March 27, 2015
House, Senate Approve Budget Resolutions

The House voted 228-199 on March 25 to adopt H.Con.Res. 27, its version of the Fiscal Year 2016 budget resolution. The Senate agreed to its concurrent resolution, S.Con.Res. 11, by a 52-46 vote at 3 a.m. March 27. Both versions include cuts in discretionary spending for transportation, $1 billion in the House and $3 billion in the Senate. They also include “reserve fund” language allowing increases in the spending allocations for the transportation committees if the Highway Trust Fund is made solvent for the life of the authorization bill and if the bill is not scored as increasing federal deficits.

»  Blacksburg Transit, Blacksburg, VA, has an opening for a transit director. [More]
» The Birmingham-Jefferson County (AL) Transit Authority seeks a director of operations. [More]
» MTA New York City Transit is soliciting contracts for 231 low floor 60-foot articulated buses with an option of up to another 300 buses. [More]
View more Classified Ads »
TO PLACE AN AD: E-mail the requested date(s) of publication to: Mailing address is: Passenger Transport, 1666 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006. Ad copy is not accepted by phone. DEADLINE: 3 p.m. EST, Friday, one week prior to publication date. INFORMATION: Phone (202) 496-4877.

Shuster, Ryan: Short-Term HTF Extension Likely

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) said before Congress adjourned March  27 that he is working with House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) on a short-term extension of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) to allow more time to work on business-only tax reform.

“If tax reform is going to be a piece of the highway bill, we’re going to need to go past May 31,” Ryan told reporters. “It is just not conceivable [by] the way this place works that we’ll get it done by then.” He did not indicate how long the extension could be or how he would pay for it, but added, “Tax reform can help facilitate a [longer-term] highway bill, that’s plan A.”

When Congress returns April 13 after its Easter-Passover District Work Period, it will have seven weeks to consider changes in tax law or spending reductions to support HTF before the fund’s spending authority expires May 31. Funding of a baseline six-year transportation bill would require a minimum of $100 billion (estimated) in additional HTF deposits.

Senate Commerce Committee Approves Extending PTC Deadline

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation voted March 25 to provide for an extension of the deadline to comply with the positive train control requirements (PTC) set forth under the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008.

The Railroad Safety and Positive Train Control Extension Act (S.650), introduced by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), extends the deadline to Dec. 31, 2020 from the current date, Dec. 31, 2015. It also provides the secretary of transportation with limited authority to grant extensions on a case-by-case basis—based on safety and operational risk—for up to two additional years.

The bill as passed includes an amendment (modified in committee) offered by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) that adds annual reporting requirements for Class I, intercity and commuter railroads during the extension period covered by S. 650. For details, see an APTA Legislative Alert at the APTA website.

Mayors Call on Congress to Pass Transportation Bill

During a March 23 meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) Cities of Opportunity Task Force in Boston, mayors led by Martin J. Walsh of Boston, Bill de Blasio of New York City, USCM Vice President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake of Baltimore and Ed Murray of Seattle pledged to work together to urge Congress to approve a public transportation authorization bill. Specifically, the mayors are calling for increased resources, with more locally directed funding to address the growing needs in cities where populations are steadily rising.

More than 20 mayors participated in the meeting, chaired by de Blasio. DOT Deputy Secretary Victor Mendez and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) addressed the mayors.

“Mayors are on the frontlines of combating inequality—and we know firsthand that transportation is central to that fight as the backbone of economic growth,” said de Blasio. “Transit serves as a lifeline for so many, connecting those who need it most to jobs, school and real mobility, while transportation infrastructure creates the good-paying jobs so many need. The status quo is simply unacceptable. It's time for Congress to truly invest in the future of our cities and our nation by passing a bill that increases federal transportation funding. And we'll be making that clear ‎with direct action in our cities and in Washington.” He also referenced APTA's Stand Up for Transportation event on April 9, when members of the business, faith, labor and civic communities will gather to call for increased public transit funding through social media and visits to their members of Congress. See the press conference at this link.

FTA Schedules Webinar on Hiring and Contracting Initiative

DOT's Office of the General Counsel and FTA have scheduled a webinar March 31, beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern time, regarding a March 6 DOT Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to amend the Common Grant Rule (2 CFR Part 200) to permit the use of geographic hiring preferences in DOT grant programs. The same day, DOT announced a related one-year pilot program regarding local hiring practices. For those who wish to use their telephones for the webinar, call 888-273-3658, using access code 4463947. To request alternative formats or other reasonable accommodations due to a disability, contact Tom Wilson by 5 p.m. March 30.

New Look for APTA's Website

Visitors to APTA's website will find a fresh new look. The redesigned site launched this week, In addition to the new appearance, the site provides an optimal viewing experience on mobile devices. APTA has also improved the search function and used WCAG (web content accessibility guidelines) in making improvements.


What is your organization planning for Stand Up for Transportation Day, April 9? Please let APTA know! Contact Rose Sheridan, Mantill Williams or Chad Chitwood.


Dallas Police Officer Charles Vaughn serenaded commuters on board Dallas Area Rapid Transit light rail during the agency's recent "DARTing with the Chief on the Beat" event.

An editorial in the Los Angeles Times promotes a plan being considered by Los Angeles Metro to support the development of affordable housing along public transportation lines.

Former DOT Secretary Ray LaHood recently spoke about the need for bipartisanship in Congress as featured speaker for the 2015 ConocoPhillips White House Lecture at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library.

© Copyright 2015 American Public Transportation Association
1666 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20006
Telephone (202) 496-4882 • Fax (202) 496-4321
Print Version | Search Back Issues | Contact Us | Unsubscribe
Twitter Flickr Blog YouTube Facebook