May 8, 2015
Hearings Focus on Authorization

On May 5, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security held its third hearing on the reauthorization of highway safety programs. The hearing focused on the importance of a long-term reauthorization bill to create stability for state and local governments investing in infrastructure and transportation systems. Chairwoman Deb Fischer (R-NE) noted in her opening statement, “Each day, American families, consumers, workers and businesses depend upon a safe and reliable transportation system.  I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate and stakeholders to find a long-term sustainable approach towards addressing our nation’s transportation needs.”

The full hearing and prepared remarks offered by the witnesses are available here.

On May 4, the full Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a field hearing in Newark, NJ, titled “Passenger Rail Reauthorization: The Future of the Northeast Corridor.” Ranking member Cory Booker (D-NJ) stressed the importance of this corridor as an economic driver for the nation while it relies on decaying infrastructure due to underinvestment. He went on to highlight the growth in ridership in this corridor and the need for investment to keep it safe and efficient.

The witness list and an audio recording of the hearing are available here.

» Chatham Area Transit, Savannah, GA, has openings for a chief development officer, transit planner and transportation supervisors. [More]
» The city of Simi Valley, CA, is looking for a transit supervisor. [More]
» The Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority requests proposals for the multi-year manufacture and delivery of up to 130 public transit buses. [More]
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APTA Concludes Successful Bus Conference

Approximately 800 people attended APTA's Bus & Paratransit Conference in Fort Worth, TX, May 3-6. FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan spoke at the Opening General Session, joining APTA Chair Phillip Washington; Paul Ballard, president/CEO of the Fort Worth Transportation Authority, host system; and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price.

Andrew Evans of National Geographic led an enthusiastic General Session describing his trip by bus from Washington, D.C., to Antarctica. APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy moderated the Closing General Session, which brought together experts on public transit, land use and development. Other conference highlights included educational sessions, the Bus Display and the Products and Services Showcase.

First-place winners of the 2015 International Bus Roadeo were: Grand Champion, Central Ohio Transit Authority, Columbus; operator, 35-foot bus competition, Gabe Beliz, Ben Franklin Transit, Richland, WA, and 40-foot bus competition, Kevin Grady, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency; and maintenance team, Kansas City Area (MO) Transportation Authority, Tom Seymour, Jeff Clark and Ralph Salmon.

APTA also announced the winners of its 2015 Bus Safety and Security Excellence Awards. Among bus systems with fewer than 4 million annual passenger trips: Gold Award for Safety, Minnesota Valley Transit Authority, Burnsville, MN. Bus systems with more than 4 million and fewer than 20 million annual trips: Gold Award for Safety, Jacksonville (FL) Transportation Authority; Gold Award for Security, Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, Cincinnati. Bus systems with 20 million or more annual trips: Gold Award for Safety, San Diego Metropolitan Transit System; and Gold Award for Security, Regional Transportation District, Denver. Certificate of Merit for Safety went to Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District, Oakland, CA, and Certificate of Merit for Security went to Société de transport de Montreal.

See the next issue of Passenger Transport for all the details.

DOT's Carter Named President of CTA

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has named Dorval R. Carter Jr. president of the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), effective the week of May 18. Carter previously worked for CTA beginning in 1984 as a staff attorney, and from 2000-2009 served in a variety of agency posts culminating in executive vice president and chief administrative officer. Most recently he has served as acting chief of staff to DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx; earlier he spent 10 years at FTA. At CTA he succeeds Forrest Claypool, who became the mayor’s chief of staff.

Mixed Results on Ballot Measures in Michigan, Washington State

Four of five local property tax measures in Michigan to support public transit passed on the May 5 ballot, in Addison Township, Iosco County, Monroe and Van Buren County; the fifth, in Frenchtown Township, failed. A statewide constitutional amendment that would have increased the sales tax by 1 percent to raise $1.3 billion for transportation improvements lost overwhelmingly, 19.9 percent in favor to 80.1 percent opposed.

Earlier, a measure for a .3 percent sales tax to fund new public transit projects and expansion in Spokane County, WA, lost by a preliminary margin of about 600 votes. Some absentee ballots were still to be counted at press time, but it appears that there aren’t enough remaining ballots to achieve a victory.


APTA's 10th Annual National Dump the Pump Day is June 18. A toolkit with a variety of resources is available here. It includes a sample media advisory, customizable ads, a fact sheet and a sample proclamation.



DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx announced on the Fast Lane blog that three DOT employees, including FTA's Adam Schildge, are among the finalists for the Partnership for Public Service's Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal, also known as the "Sammie" award.

APTA and the American Road and Transportation Builders Association have launched a radio campaign targeting congressional leaders from both parties in their home districts, urging them to pass a permanent solution to the federal Highway Trust Fund. "For the past seven years," the ads say, "our presidents and the Congress have added over $50 billion to our nation's debt . . . just to maintain current road and public transit funding. Now they're talking about doing it again. That puts a huge burden on future generations."

Transit-oriented housing may become increasingly important throughout the Washington, D.C., area, according to a "Where We Live" column by architect Roger K. Lewis in the Washington Post.

U2 gave subway riders a free performance at Grand Central Station this week.

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