April 8, 2016
APTA Weighs In on FY 2017 Spending Bills

Congress has begun its work to fund federal programs for fiscal year 2017.  The House Budget Committee has approved a Budget Resolution to fund all government programs, while House and Senate appropriations subcommittees will soon begin drafting individual spending bills for each federal agency.  While the full House may consider the Budget Resolution, it is not clear that the Senate will take up the measure.  Absent a Budget Resolution, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees will begin advancing bills in late April based on last year's budget agreement.

The Budget Resolution that was approved by the House Budget Committee contains several non-binding proposals that would adversely impact public transportation programs.  APTA has spoken out in strong opposition to these proposals, which include phasing-out funding for the New Starts program, prohibiting funding for high-speed passenger rail projects, setting conditions for funding WMATA, and eliminating TIGER grants and operating subsidies for Amtrak.  The resolution would also require the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee to find $100 million in savings over 10 years.

APTA wrote a letter to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees urging Congress to make substantial investments in public transportation programs.  We also submitted testimony with a similar message to the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that has budget responsibility for the Department of Homeland Security.  The letter can be viewed here; the testimony can be viewed here.

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FTA Seeks Comments on FAST Act's Buy America Provisions

FTA is soliciting comments on its plans to implement the Buy America provisions in the FAST Act.  This week, the agency published two proposed policy statements regarding the statutory increases in domestic content for rolling stock.  Both notices can be viewed on the APTA website here.

The first notice proposes a policy statement on phased in implementation of new domestic content requirements.  Under current law, required domestic content is 60 percent.  Under the FAST Act, required domestic content increases to 65 percent for FY18 and FY19, and to 70 percent for FY20 and beyond.  The proposed rule specifies which domestic content requirements must be met based on the delivery dates of rolling stock. Comments are due May 6.

The second notice proposes a "public interest waiver" to the Buy America requirements.  FTA has put forth two categories of waivers based on the dates which rolling stock contracts are entered into, regardless of when the vehicles are delivered.  Comments are due April 16.

APTA Receives Sustainability Award

The Los Angeles Sustainability Coalition awarded APTA its Outstanding Sustainability Program award at the 2016 Sustainable Infrastructure: The Next Generation Forum.  The event, which attracted transportation experts and business leaders from throughout California and across the nation, was hosted by the coalition and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy accepted the award on behalf of the association and delivered the keynote speech.  He discussed the environmental, economic and social benefits of sustainability policies as well as APTA's initiatives including the Sustainability Commitment, Sustainability & Urban Design Standards, and the annual Sustainability & Public Transportation Workshop.  He also cited examples of sustainability success stories in Boston, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Portland (OR), Los Angeles and San Francisco.

APTA Comments on FTA's Proposed Safety Plans

After conference calls with our members and discussions at APTA committee meetings, we filed final comments this week on both FTA’s proposed National Public Transportation Safety Plan and its proposed Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan — two of the most significant public transit regulations in years.  The comments were thoroughly vetted among our members, with more than 100 participants on the calls and extensive input from across our membership.  You can read APTA's submitted comments by clicking here.

FTA To Support Communities with Transit-Oriented Development

FTA has selected nine cities to receive technical assistance to encourage economic development around local transit service.  As part of the FTA’s transit-oriented development (TOD) initiative, this assistance is intended to jumpstart local economies and strengthen communities, with a focus on boosting disadvantaged areas.

Following a competitive process, FTA chose the following communities for TOD technical assistance, ranging from in-depth, multi-day visits to one-day, targeted workshops:  Stamford, CT; Honolulu, HI; Moline, IL; Louisville, KY; Kansas City, MO; Oklahoma City, OK; San Antonio, TX; Lynnwood, WA; and Richmond, VA.  APTA represents public transit agencies that serve eight of the nine communities.

FTA's National Public Transportation/Transit-Oriented Development Technical Assistance Initiative is a four-year project that focuses on supporting local communities' efforts to build compact, mixed-use, equitable development around public transit stations.

Tulsa Voters Approve Tax To Fund Transportation Needs

Voters in Tulsa, OK, approved a package of initiatives on April 6 known as Vision Tulsa, which raises revenue for public safety, transportation, infrastructure and economic development.  The transportation proposition (Proposition 2) of the package, passed with 75 percent support.  It will create a permanent sales tax to support Tulsa's transportation needs — with 56 percent of the tax revenue being used for public transit operations and capital investments.  The remaining 44 percent will go toward street repair and maintenance.

Bike Share Extends Public Transit's Reach

More than 86 percent of the nation's 2,655 bike share stations in 65 cities are located within one block of public transportation service, according to a new report "Bike-Share Stations in the U.S." released by DOT's Bureau of Transportation Statistics.  Bike share services extend the transportation network by offering a way to reach places with public transportation.

Public transit buses offer the most prevalent and popular connection for bicyclists, with 84.2 percent of bike-share stations located a block or less from a bus stop.  Read DOT's full "Bike-Share Stations in the U.S." study, complete with charts, by clicking here.

In Case You Missed It ...

Perhaps you weren't able to attend APTA's 2016 Legislative Conference in mid-March ... or maybe you just want to experience again all the great content you heard.  Now you can view videos of all the major speeches and presentations from the conference by clicking here


April 30 - May 3:  Transit Board Members & Board Support Seminar
Hilton Palacio del Rio - San Antonio, TX
Time is running out!  Join Valarie J. McCall, APTA chair and a board member of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority at this event.  Sign up here.

May 15-18:  Bus & Paratransit Conference
Westin Hotel & Charlotte Convention Center - Charlotte, NC
Register for this conference here.


Final Four a Win for Metro Train
The Houston Chronicle; April 6

SMART Rail To Be a Boon for Local Businesses
Argus-Courier; April 6

High Speed Rail Gets the Green Light
The San Francisco Examiner; April 7


"We must reinvent how we think about transportation. We need to aspire for more. We need a transportation system that connects a big missing dot in the line between income inequality and opportunity."

                                                                                             Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx
                                                                                             speaking about DOT's "Ladders of Opportunity"

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