November 6, 2015
House Passes Six-Year Surface Transportation Bill

In a show of overwhelming bipartisan support, the House of Representatives voted 363-64 on Nov. 5 to pass a six-year, nearly $340 billion surface transportation bill.  The House action is an important step toward achieving enactment of the first long-term authorization for public transit and highways since 2005.

Of the more than 100 amendments that were debated, the House approved amendments to increase bus funding through a shift of other FTA funds and to improve funding availability for fixed guideway capital investments.

In addition, the House adopted a proposal by Reps. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) and Bill Huizenga (R-MI) to replace some revenue provisions of the bill with a drawdown of the Federal Reserve's capital surplus account.  The amendment could provide billions of dollars in additional funding.

Now the House and Senate must reconcile the differences between their respective versions of the bill.  The current short-term authorization expires on Nov. 20, but it is unclear whether a final House-Senate compromise can be completed by that date because the House is in recess next week.  As a result, another short-term extension may need to be passed.

APTA will continue to work closely with House and Senate leaders to secure a high-quality, well-funded bill before the end of this year that will enable our members to plan, invest and operate with confidence and predictability.

>  To read a statement by APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy, please click here
For more details about the House-passed bill, please see APTA's Legislative Update here.

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Voters Approve 11 Public Transit Projects

On Election Day (Nov. 3), voters in five states approved 11 ballot initiatives to increase funding for public transportation services in their communities.  Of the 14 measures that have been definitively decided, only 3 were rejected.  This represents a success rate of 79 percent.  (Two additional ballot initiatives — in Snohomish County, WA, and Salt Lake City, UT — are still too close to call.)

Voters said "yes" to more public transit in: Breckenridge, CO; Fraser, CO; Winter Park, CO; Delta County, MI; Flint, MI; Scio Township, MI; Davis County, UT; Tooele County, UT; Weber County, UT; Seattle, WA; and the state of Maine.  Ballot issues in Seattle and Maine included a mix of multimodal projects, where there was clear support for public transportation.

Next week's Passenger Transport will provide details on the projects that voters approved.  Read APTA's press release about the ballot initiatives here.

DOT's Online Tool Promotes Good Health Through Transportation

In partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. DOT has created a new online Transportation and Health Tool.  The tool helps health officials, policymakers and the public learn how state and local transportation options affect people's health.

The site also offers data that compare states and communities on a range of health-related mobility indicators, including the availability — and connectivity — among public transit, bicycle routes and pedestrian pathways.

According to DOT, the tool will not only help state and local officials better understand the degree to which their transportation systems promote good health, but also "it will provide them with a number of strategies to improve the health of the communities they serve."  Read more about the program here.


APTA Committee Meetings: Dec. 2-4

APTA's committee meetings will be held in Washington, DC, beginning on Dec. 2 with opening sessions on high-speed rail and collaboration.  Other groups scheduled to meet include the Small Operations Committee, RCA Advisory Council, Legislative Committee, BMBG officers and chairs, and APTA Board of Directors.

Following the Legislative Committee meeting on Dec. 3, APTA will host a reception on Capitol Hill for our members who are in town.  For more information, please visit the APTA website here.


Uber Took 300K New Jersey Commuters to the Bus or Train Last Month; Oct. 27

How Panasonic Turned Car Commuters Into Transit Riders
The Atlantic CITYLAB; Oct. 27

Investment in Transportation Is Vital To Prosperity
Op-Ed by John Andreas, BMBG member
Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Oct. 27

New Transportation Investments Would Boost Illinois' Economy
Op-Ed by Patrick Scully and Kim Green, BMBG chair and immediate past chair, respectively
The Daily Herald; Nov. 2


"Today the House voted to give our infrastructure and our economy a much needed shot in the arm."

                                                                                         Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), Chairman
                                                                                         House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee
                                                                                         Nov. 5

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