January 5, 2018
APTA Formally Welcomes New President & CEO

APTA welcomed new President & CEO Paul P. Skoutelas on his first day "on the job," Jan. 3.

"This is a special and exciting moment for me personally as we enter an extraordinary time in the history of our association and our industry," Skoutelas said.

"My overarching objective is to build upon the strong and stable foundation already in place, and to make APTA even more respected, effective and influential as we embrace change."

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APTA Among Signatories of Letter on Federal Infrastructure Plan

APTA is among more than 150 national trade associations to sign a letter to congressional leaders and members of Congress calling for passage of a federal infrastructure plan that would increase direct federal project spending and encourage participation by states and private investors "without shifting federal responsibilities."

The plan is expected to propose $200 billion of additional direct federal spending over 10 years to leverage $1 trillion in total project investment that includes contributions from private investors and state and local governments. In contrast, the federal Highway Trust Fund generally covers 80 percent of the cost of qualified capital projects, leaving 20 percent for state and local partners.

The letter also calls on Congress to fix "chronic challenges" and recurring shortages "in key federal infrastructure accounts such as the Highway Trust Fund." Read the letter here.

DOT Secretary Chao Reiterates Need for PTC Implementation

In a recent letter to all U.S. Class I railroads, intercity passenger railroads and state and local transit systems, DOT Secretary Elaine L. Chao stressed the urgency of implementing positive train control systems by the congressionally mandated Dec. 31, 2018 deadline. “Advancing the implementation of Positive Train Control is among the most important rail safety initiatives on the department’s agenda,” said Chao.

Read more on the Positive Train Control Enforcement and Implementation Act of 2015 here.

Government Funding Discussions Continue

This week, Republican and Democratic congressional leaders met with White House officials to continue negotiations on a budget deal that would pave the way for full-year appropriations. No agreement was announced, but deadlines are approaching with the current continuing resolution (CR) set to expire Jan. 19. The CR also postponed potential across-the-board sequester cuts that would have occurred in February, so Congress will need to raise the caps or reduce spending by then.

Continue reading Passenger Transport and Passenger Transport Express for updates.

Chairman of House T&I Committee to Retire

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for five years, announced he will not seek re-election in November, ending his congressional career after nine terms.

Shuster said he wants to spend his last year as chairman "focusing 100 percent on working with President Trump and my Republican and Democratic colleagues in both chambers to pass a much needed infrastructure bill to rebuild America."

"Chairman Bill Shuster has been a champion for the nation’s transportation infrastructure and his leadership will be sorely missed," said APTA President & CEO Paul P. Skoutelas. "Among his many accomplishments, he was instrumental in the passage of the FAST Act in 2015, the first long-term surface transportation bill in more than 10 years." Shuster received APTA's Distinguished Service Award in 2016.

Make plans to attend this upcoming APTA event:

Legislative Conference
March 18-20, 2018
Washington, DC

APTA's Legislative Conference provides members with the opportunity to shape industry positions and federal transportation policy and to participate in advocacy activities with members of Congress, administration officials and Washington opinion makers.


Palm Tran Operations Manager Retires—After nearly 42 years in Palm Beach County public transportation, including 29 years as Palm Tran operations manager, BJ Barrow retired in December. When she started her transit career, she was an 18-year-old high school graduate.

The Case for the Subway—The subway built New York City. Now, the city must rebuild it to survive.

Resolve to Change Your Life with Public Transit in 2018!—A new year offers a chance for new goals and resolutions. HART, in Tampa, FL, has an idea for a New Year's Resolution that's healthy, good for the economy and the environment and, best of all, affordable!

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