May 20, 2016
FY 2017 Transportation Funding Bills Advance

Both the House and Senate this week made progress toward passing an appropriations bill to fund public transportation programs in fiscal year 2017.

In the House, the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, Urban Development and Related Agencies approved $12.5 billion for FTA — $743 million more than Congress approved in FY 2016 — and about $1.7 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) — $42 million more than Congress approved in FY 2016.  The bill now goes to the full House Appropriations Committee, possibly next week, and then to the House floor for a vote in June.

In the Senate, the chamber passed its spending bill by a 89-8 vote.  The bill provides more than $12.3 billion for FTA programs and more than $1.75 billion for FRA programs.

The House and Senate bills appropriate the same funding levels for formula grants ($9.7 billion for Urban and Rural, Bus and Bus Facilities, State of Good Repair, Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities, Growing and High Density States, etc.), PTC installation ($199 million), WMATA repairs ($150 million), and Amtrak ($1.42 billion).

Key differences:  The House provides: 1) $162 million more than the Senate for Capital Investment Grants ($2.5 billion compared with $2.34 billion); 2) $75 million less than the Senate for TIGER grants ($450 million compared with $525 million); 3) $5 million more than the Senate for FRA's Federal State Partnership for State of Good Repair ($25 million compared with $20 million); and 4) $25 million for Consolidated Rail Infrastructure & Safety Improvements, while the Senate appropriated $50 million.  Additionally, the House did not fund Rail Restoration and Enhancement grants (although the Senate provided $20 million for the program), and the House prohibited grant monies from being used for high-speed rail in California.

For more detailed descriptions of both appropriations bills, please click here.

» MTA/New York City Transit is soliciting contracts for a new fare payment system. [More]
» MTM, Inc. is seeking a chief operating officer. [More]
» Los Angeles Metro is seeking to fill three executive director positions in their rail division. [More]
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Charlotte Welcomes APTA Bus Conference & International Roadeo

More than 1,200 people attended APTA's Bus & Paratransit Conference and International Bus Roadeo in Charlotte, NC, May 13-18, with paid registrations exceeding last year's total.

APTA Chair Valarie J. McCall opened the event by emphasizing how public transportation "makes change happen by connecting people to new ideas and opportunities."  She said, "We don't just open doors, we open minds."  McCall also praised host agency Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) and its CEO John Lewis for leading one of the country's exceptional public transportation agencies.

FTA Acting Administrator Carolyn Flowers, a former CEO of CATS, described major elements of the FAST Act, calling the law an important improvement "beginning with the addition of the new bus discretionary program."  She also discussed mobility on demand, workforce development, safety and security, and FTA's Rides To Wellness program.

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts thanked APTA for bringing its conference to what she called "our welcoming city that has always practiced tolerance and fairness toward all."  The theme of diversity and inclusion also was highlighted in program content and signage — including buttons for attendees.

Acting President & CEO Richard White echoed the message of unity and spoke about APTA's renewed focus on meeting the most pressing needs of every member.  Both McCall and White stressed the importance of fostering a culture of connectedness in both the industry and association.

Conference highlights included Maintenance Monday, BRT Tuesday, a Products & Services Showcase with 135 exhibitors, a Bus Display with 28 vehicles, a Diversity Roundtable led by APTA Vice Chair Doran Barnes and an APTA-COMTO Assembly on public transit's role in advancing civil rights.

The International Bus Roadeo first-place winners were:
>   Grand Champion — Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), Dallas, TX
>   40-foot Bus Operator — Jesus Rodriguez of DART
>   35-foot Bus Operator — Gabe Beliz of Ben Franklin Transit, Richland, WA
>   Maintenance Team — Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority (LYNX), Orlando, FL

APTA also announced the following winners of the 2016 Bus Safety & Security Excellence Awards:

Certificates of Merit for Safety:
>   Southwest Transit, Eden Prairie, MN (fewer than 4 million trips yearly)
>   Fort Worth Transit Authority, Fort Worth, TX (more than 4 million and fewer than 20 million trips yearly)
>   New York MTA, New York, NY (more than 20 million trips yearly)

Certificates of Merit for Security:
>   Southwest Transit, Eden Prairie, MN (fewer than 4 million trips yearly)
>   Fort Worth Transit Authority, Fort Worth, TX (more than 4 million and fewer than 20 million trips yearly)
>   Pace Suburban Bus, Arlington Heights, IL (more than 20 million trips yearly)
>   MV Transportation DBA Fairfax Connector, Fairfax, VA (private management / service provider company)

Gold Award for Safety and Gold Award for Security:
>   Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, Kansas City, MO (more than 4 million and fewer than 20 million trips yearly)
>   Maryland Transportation Authority, Baltimore, MD (more than 20 million passenger trips yearly)  

For stories and photos from the conference and competition, see next week's issue of Passenger Transport.  Also, watch for recorded sessions from the conference on

Infrastructure Week: Public Transit CEOs Highlight Needs

As part of National Infrastructure Week (May 16-23), APTA sponsored a country-wide conference call for public transit CEOs from large, mid-size and small systems to speak with more than 20 journalists about infrastructure priorities.

"After decades of inadequate investment, the American public transportation infrastructure is crumbling,” said APTA Chair Valarie J. McCall.  "This neglect demands attention at all levels of government so that public transit can continue to help grow communities and businesses."

McCall and APTA Acting President & CEO Richard White were joined on the call by:
-  Joseph Calabrese, President & CEO, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority
-  Dorval Carter, President & CEO, Chicago Transit Authority
-  Jeff Hamm, Executive Director & CEO, Clark County Public Transportation Benefit Authority (WA)
-  Jeffery Knueppel, General Manager, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority
-  Dennis Martin, Interim Executive Director, NJ Transit
-  Ellen McLean, CEO, Port Authority of Allegheny County
-  Ed Reiskin, Director of Transportation, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency
-  Paul Wiedefeld, General Manager & CEO, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
-  Edward Mortimer, Executive Director, Transportation Infrastructure, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

White said, “While Congress’s passage of the federal FAST Act was a step in the right direction, the job is still not done.  Estimates to meet current national public transportation demand will require a capital investment of $43 billion annually over six years."

National Infrastructure Week is the largest, most diverse, non-partisan coalition of organizations dedicated to rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure.  APTA members are participating in a variety of activities during this fourth annual event.

Read APTA's press release here and see examples of the media coverage in the "IN THE MEDIA" section of this newsletter.


June 19-22:  Rail Conference
Sheraton Grand Phoenix Phoenix, AZ
The conference includes special sessions on safety and security issues with officials from FTA and TSA.
To register for the Rail Conference, click here.


$350,000 Inspection Slated for Cuyahoga River Viaduct, RTA Stresses Need for Infrastructure Funding
Cleveland Plain Dealer; May 20

Public Transit Agencies Call for More Federal Money for Capital Projects
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; May 20

How L.A. Is Trying To Avoid Being "Eaten Alive" by Congestion
CBS News; May 20

Rebuilding Plans Capture the Spotlight (in presidential campaign)
The Hill; May 20

The Train That Saved Denver
Politico Magazine; May 19


"We have to continue our advocacy to make sure that the transit industry gets the resources it so badly needs and the next reauthorization strengthens us further in order to serve those on whom we rely."

                                                                                             Carolyn Flowers
                                                                                             FTA Acting Administrator
                                                                                             May 16

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