June 3, 2016
FTA Releases Final Rule on Transportation Planning

FTA and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) jointly released final regulations May 27 governing statewide, non-metropolitan and metropolitan transportation planning.  The new rules incorporate changes to the planning process contained in both the MAP-21 and FAST Act reauthorizations including:

-  Requiring a performance-based approach to planning;
-  Requiring states to have a higher level of involvement with non-metropolitan local officials;
-  Providing a process for the creation of regional transportation planning organizations (non-metropolitan);
-  Integrating planning and environmental review processes, as well as programmatic mitigation plans; and
-  Changing the membership of large MPOs to include public transit providers.

This last item clarifies a long-standing issue regarding public transit representation on MPO boards.  The language from the FAST Act, which now appears in the new regulation, maintains the requirement that a designated public transit representative must be on the board of every MPO that serves a population greater than one million.  Congress specified that the representative can be determined by the MPO according to its bylaws or enabling statute, and that the designated representative can also serve as a local elected official.

FTA and FHWA will issue supplemental guidance and provide technical support to state departments of transportation, MPOs and public transportation providers.  Click here to register for a webinar on June 14, 1-2 p.m. EDT.  You can read the final rule here.

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FRA Takes Safety Actions

Final Safety Rules Published:

FRA finalized two rules to strengthen protections for railroad employees working on or near tracks, including additional drug and alcohol testing.  The final rules, which can be viewed here, affect commuter and intercity rail operators, among others.

One rule expands the agency's drug and alcohol testing rules to cover maintenance-of-way workers, who currently only undergo toxicology exams if they have died in an on-the-job accident.  The new requirements, mandated by Congress and advocated by the NTSB, include random tests, tests based on reasonable cause, and tests as a prerequisite to return to work.  The new requirements begin one year after publication in the Federal Register. 

The second rule, effective April 1, 2017, resolves interpretative issues regarding FRA's workplace safety requirements.  It also mandates redundant signal protections for track workers.

FRA Requests Comments on Two Safety Issues:

FRA has announced a notice and request for comments on Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA) Guidance for Rail Projects.  The FAST Act requires the Secretary of Transportation to "enhance the usefulness of assessments of benefits and costs for intercity passenger rail and freight rail projects."  To fulfill this requirement, FRA is issuing guidance and requesting comments.  The notice for the Benefit-Cost Guidance can be viewed here.

FRA is also seeking public comment on its Survey of Categorical Exclusions (CEs) used in railroad projects, including passenger rail.  In addition to soliciting views on the CE survey, the agency is also asking for comments on two new activities that may be appropriate for exclusion, as well as any other new categories.  The notice for the Categorical Exclusions can be viewed here.

Nominations Are Open for APTA Leadership Positions

APTA Chair Valarie J. McCall has appointed a nominating committee that will recommend a slate of candidates for positions on the APTA Executive Committee of the Board of Directors.  New officers and board members will be seated on Sept. 10, at the start of the 2016 Annual Meeting in Los Angeles.  Names of nominating committee members and information about how to submit nominations through July 26 are on the “members only” section of the APTA website here.

BMBG is Accepting Nominations

The Business Member Board of Governors (BMBG) Nominations Committee is currently accepting nominations from individuals interested in representing APTA’s private sector members.  The deadline for submitting nominations is July 15.  The committee will select a slate of 15 APTA business members to serve two-year terms, as well as BMBG officers including Chair, First Vice Chair and Second Vice Chair.  The election will take place on Sept. 11 at the APTA Annual Meeting in Los Angeles.  To download the nomination form, click here.

Nearly 60 Percent of Americans Plan To Use Public Transit When on Vacation

APTA released its annual "Travel Like A Local" survey, which asks Americans if they plan to use public transportation while vacationing in a top U.S. destination city this summer.  Nearly 60 percent of respondents said they will use public transit during their travels, a slight increase over last year despite record low gas prices.  Millennials and young adults age 18-44 were the groups most likely to integrate transit into their vacation plans. 

The survey also found that more than one-third of travelers will use ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft at least once during city vacations.  This supports previous APTA research that shows these mobility services complement the use of public transit.


June 19-22:  Rail Conference
Sheraton Grand Phoenix Phoenix, AZ
Special safety and security sessions are scheduled with rail CEOs and officials from FTA and TSA.
To register for the Rail Conference, click here.


Record-Setting CDTA Ridership Also Shows Room for Improvement
The Record News (Troy, NY); May 28

State Says Virginians Are Becoming More 'Multimodal' as Teleworking Trend Continues
Richmond Times-Dispatch; June 1

The Biggest Beneficiary of Ride-Hailing Services Might Be Public Transit
The Huffington Post; June 1

Why the Expo Line to Santa Monica Marks a Rare Kind of Progress in American Cities
Los Angeles Times; June 2


"Infrastructure is about a lot more than delivering people from Point A to Point B.  It is about middle class jobs."

                                                                                  Vice President Joseph Biden
                                                                                  May 27, 2016


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