October 9, 2015
More Than 2,200 Attend 2015 Annual Meeting

APTA’s 2015 Annual Meeting in San Francisco attracted more than 2,200 attendees from 16 countries on Oct. 4-7.  APTA Chair Valarie J. McCall, board member of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, thanked immediate past Chair Phillip A. Washington for his service and announced her intention to promote even greater collaboration within the APTA community and with outside organizations.

APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy opened the meeting, which included more than 140 sessions, 63 committee and subcommittee meetings, 15 technical tours and a Products & Services Showcase.  Telling the audience that real leaders “dare to be different,” Melaniphy urged attendees to embrace change and to “drive our own destiny."

The opening session also included Tom Nolan, board chair, and Ed Reiskin, director of transportation for the host agency, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.  DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx led an engaging session before a standing room only crowd and answered questions from the audience.  Other highlights included FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan, Harvard Business School professor and author Rosabeth Moss Kanter and a roundtable commemorating the ADA's 25th anniversary.

See the Oct. 19 Passenger Transport for more on the Annual Meeting and to read APTA’s 2015 Annual Report.

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Progress on PTC Extension, But Some Uncertainty Remains

A bipartisan bill was introduced in the House of Representatives on Sept. 30 to extend for three years a Dec. 31 deadline for implementation of PTC on passenger and freight railroads.  Championed by leaders of the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee, the legislation could avert suspension of rail service and what APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy has called a potential “transportation and economic crisis.”

Most members of Congress understand the necessity of extending the deadline until Dec. 31, 2018.  The Senate, which has already passed a three-year extension of PTC as part of a new six-year surface transportation authorization, welcomed introduction of the House bill.

However, some influential senators and representatives said they want the extension to be part of a larger House transportation bill, not a stand-alone measure.  Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), ranking Democrat on the House T&I Committee, said he was disappointed that the deadline change was not part of a larger bill, while Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), ranking Democrat on the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, announced that she will oppose any extension of the PTC deadline unless the House passes a long-term public transit and highway bill.

Another Reauthorization Extension Expires After Oct. 29

In addition to the PTC deadline at the end of this year, the current authorization extension for all surface transportation programs expires at midnight on Oct. 29.  As a result, Congress is expected to enact another temporary authorizing bill for public transit and highways soon — with or without a new PTC deadline — while work in the House continues on a new, multi-year surface transportation authorization.

The House T&I Committee is expected to release its long-term bill during the week of Oct. 19 and hopes to bring the legislation to the full House for a vote before the end of the month.  Even if that occurs as planned, the House and Senate will need time to agree on a combined version of their respective bills.  Congress is in recess during the week of Oct. 12.

FTA Issues Guidance for Public Transit on ADA Implementation

FTA published detailed guidance for public transit agencies on Oct. 5 on how to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  FTA’s guidance explains ADA requirements for public transportation and provides examples of good practices to ensure accessible services.

The document does not amend or supersede the DOT ADA regulations; rather, it offers explanatory scenarios and sample templates, such as a rail station checklist for new construction and alterations.  Read FTA's guidance here.  View FTA Acting Administrator McMillan’s video message here.

FTA Proposes New Safety Rule for Transit Agencies

FTA proposed a new rule on Sept. 30 that would require public transit agencies to create a plan for managing their capital assets, as well as creating state of good repair performance measures and targets, as directed by MAP-21.

The rule would require agencies to create a tiered Transit Asset Management plan to inventory the condition of their rolling stock, equipment and other items, with an eye toward prioritizing investments that enhance safety.  Smaller providers would be able to participate in a group plan.  The docket is open for public comments through Nov. 30.  Read the proposed rule here.


13th National Light Rail & Streetcar Conference Takes Place Nov. 15-17

This event, to be held in Minneapolis, MN, is jointly sponsored by APTA and the Transportation Research Board.

If you are involved in any form of passenger rail or rail-related issues, you know this is a crucial time … and this is a critical meeting.  The deadline for online pre-registration is Nov. 10.  Click here to register.


Twitter trash talk between Mets-Dodgers reaches NYC/LA Metro
CBS Sports; Sept. 30

Statewide public rail transit report gives Downtown Berkeley BART station 'A'
The Daily Californian; Oct.8

Katie Holmes Wears Ballgown to Penn Station
People magazine; Oct. 8


“There may be no better example of the kind of Washington dysfunction that has voters in rebellion against the political establishment — and no example that more directly affects real life in the country — than this failure [to pass long-term improvements in the nation’s transportation system]."

                                                                                                               Gerald F. Seib, columnist
                                                                                                               The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 6

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