July 17, 2015
Another Funding Deadline, Another Extension ... But What's Next?

The U.S. House of Representatives easily passed (312 yeas to 119 nays) on July 15 an extension of surface transportation spending through Dec. 18. The current extension expires July 31.

House leaders would like to use the next five months to pass a comprehensive, long-term authorization that would fund America’s public transportation and highway infrastructure for as long as six years. The White House supports this strategy as a path to a long-term bill.

As of July 17, however, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had indicated that the Senate will begin consideration of its own multi-year surface transportation bill next week. The length of the Senate bill will depend upon the amount of revenue and spending offsets that the Senate leadership and Finance Committee can identify to fund future spending. Various funding offsets are currently under discussion.

Even if the Senate begins debate on a multi-year bill, another short-term extension of the program appears to be inevitable since the House of Representatives is not yet ready with its version of a long-term proposal.

Congress is likely to extend federal funding at least into September and possibly through mid-December. What remains uncertain is the longer-term future, be it a modest extension beyond the 2016 elections or a new six-year program. The final outcome will be tied to what Congress decides is the best funding option. Stay tuned for more information in Passenger Transport next week.

» The city of Edmonton, AB, is looking for a branch manager for the Edmonton Transit System. [More]
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APTA Keeps Up the Pressure

APTA is continuing to spotlight the urgency of a long-term funding bill. We are running print and radio advertising inside the Beltway, using traditional and social media to publicize key messages and urging more allies to join Voices for Public Transit.

We also have created various resources for our members, including templates for letters to the editor, op-eds, talking points and sample social media posts that can be personalized, reposted and retweeted.

During the week of July 27-31, we will be working with a bipartisan coalition of mayors on a digital campaign asking Congress to support increased investment in infrastructure, including public transportation. We urge you to involve your mayor. 

FTA Weighs In on Funding Deadline

In a letter to Congress, FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan reminded lawmakers this week that if surface transportation funding is not extended by July 31, “no new contract authority will be available for capital projects, essential maintenance or operational support.” She stated that the Administration’s request for a six-year, $478 billion surface transportation reauthorization will increase overall transportation investment by 45 percent.

Americans Support Using Tax Dollars To Improve Public Transit

APTA released a survey this week that shows more than 75 percent of Americans support using tax dollars to create, expand and improve public transportation in their communities. Roughly 7 in 10 respondents said Congress should increase federal spending for public transit, and more than 8 in 10 believe public transit provides a vital connection to jobs, schools and medical care.

2015 White House Conference on Aging

APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy represented the public transportation industry at the White House Conference on Aging in Washington, DC on July 13. A balanced transportation system with a variety of mobility options was discussed as a strategy to help older adults remain actively engaged in their communities. President Obama appeared at the event, which was last held in 2005.

ADA's 25th Anniversary is Sunday, July 26

Watch for Passenger Transport's special supplement on the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act next week.


Special Tours at 2015 Annual Meeting

APTA's 2015 Annual Meeting, October 4-7 in San Francisco, will offer 14 different tours of public transit projects and services in and around the “city by the bay.” The early registration rate for APTA members is available until Aug. 28. Sign up now for this premier event in one of the world's most beautiful, transit-friendly cities.


Editorial: "Congress faces a highway funding cliff. But there's a simple solution."  With America’s infrastructure in disrepair and the Highway Trust Fund nearly out of money, The Washington Post's editorial argues that raising the gas tax is the best solution.

Study: Public transit is essential for disabled vets.  A Rutgers study found that accessible, reliable transportation, especially public transit, is critical for veterans with disabilities to reintegrate to civilian life.

Do you love New York … and public transit?  The New York City subway has more stations than any other system in the world.  Now you can display every one of them  –  as a work of high-end pop art


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