February 16, 2018
New Federal Administrators Confirmed and Nominated

Ronald Batory has been confirmed as administrator of the FRA, bringing to the role more than 45 years of leadership experience in the railroad industry, including serving as president and COO of Consolidated Rail Corporation and as president of the Belt Railway of Chicago.

Thelma Drake has been nominated to the position of administrator of the FTA. As the former director of VA DRPT and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives (including serving on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee), Drake has hands-on experience with public transportation issues at the city, state and national levels.

APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas congratulated Batory and Drake in a recent statement and said, "We look forward to working with [Batory] on critical issues facing our nation’s commuter rail systems and wish him much success at FRA. APTA also congratulates Thelma Drake. We hope for a swift confirmation of this critical position.”

Both FTA and FRA are vital partners of APTA and the public transportation industry. “We are eager to work with the leaders of both agencies on priorities that include safety and security, infrastructure and funding for the FAST Act,” continued Skoutelas. Read the full statement here.

» The Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky seeks a director of maintenance. [More]
» Georgia DOT is looking for a transit program manager. [More]
» The Milwaukee County Transit System seeks proposals for two floor scrubbers. [More]
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Administration Releases Infrastructure and Budget Plans

The Trump administration released both its infrastructure initiative and Fiscal Year 2019 budget proposal Feb. 12. The infrastructure initiative seeks to leverage $200 billion in federal funding into $1.5 trillion in new infrastructure projects, while the budget proposal calls for a 19 percent decrease of funding (compared to FY 2017) for U.S. DOT.

APTA supports the administration’s commitment to strengthen America’s infrastructure, but strongly opposes the cuts in federal funding for existing public transit infrastructure programs as a way to fund it.

“The $200 billion proposed by the administration for infrastructure would be paid for by cutting funding for critical public transportation infrastructure programs, including the Capital Improvement Grants (CIG), Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program (TIGER), and Amtrak,” said APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas in a statement. “Americans deserve a public transit and highway network that is safe, reliable and meets the demands of a 21st century economy.”

Read the full statement here and read more on the budget proposal and infrastructure plan here.

APTA has issued a detailed analysis of how the administration’s budget compares to Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 appropriations, and the FY 2018 and FY 2019 authorizations under the FAST Act.

APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas Testifies on PTC

APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas testifies on PTC before House subcommittee. Photo by Steve Barrett.

APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas testified before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure's Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Feb. 15 at a hearing titled “Oversight of Positive Train Control Implementation in the United States.”

Recent rail incidents have caused Congress to ask questions about PTC and whether railroads and commuter rail systems will meet the statutory deadline of Dec. 31, 2018.

Other witnesses included Robert Sumwalt, chairman, NTSB; Juan D. Reyes III, chief counsel, FRA; Edward Hamberger, president and CEO, Association of American Railroads; Richard Anderson, CEO, Amtrak; John P. Tolman, vice president and national legislative representative, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen.

View the written testimony here and watch the hearing here.

Transit Executives Share Insights and Challenges at CEOs Seminar

APTA Chair Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. and President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas address transit CEOs. Photo by Francisco Gonzalez.

Public transit agency CEOs and other officials convened for APTA’s 2018 Transit CEOs Seminar Feb. 10-12 in Miami.

Seminar discussions included: Leadership and Policy Development: Planning an Integrated Approach; the Future of Mobility: Developing an Implementation Action Plan; and Enterprise Risk Management: Funding, Safety, and Cyber Security: A CEO’s Primary Responsibility.

APTA Chair Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., CEO of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority; APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas, and Immediate Past Chair Doran J. Barnes, executive director, Foothill Transit, West Covina, CA, presided.

FTA Deputy Administrator Jane Williams gives remarks on the future of public transportation. Photo by Francisco Gonzalez.

FTA Deputy Administrator Jane Williams provided remarks on the future of transit and offered insight on dealing with aging infrastructure, growing demand, investing in workforce development and new technologies. She also fielded questions, along with FTA officials Matthew Welbes, executive director; Henrika Buchanan, associate administrator for program management; and Yvette Taylor, Region 4 administrator.

Other remarks were provided by David P. Pekoske, TSA administrator, and Christine Halvorsen, FBI deputy assistant director for counterterrorism, on Terrorism and Cybersecurity; Adie Tomer, Brookings Institution, on Why Corporations Are Seeking to Locate in Transit-Rich Environments; and Tony Seba, researcher and author, on Rethinking Transportation 2020-2030: Disruption, Implication, and Choices.

Alice N. Bravo, director of host agency Department of Transportation and Public Works, Miami-Dade Transit, Miami, and APTA board member, provided comments on weather-related resiliency and the role public transportation plays in restoring employment, tourism, and civic life following a natural disaster.


Make plans to attend these upcoming APTA events:

Legislative Conference
March 18-20, 2018
Washington, DC

International Bus Roadeo
May 4-8, 2018
Tampa, FL

Bus & Paratransit Conference
May 6-9, 2018
Tampa, FL

International Rail Rodeo
June 7-10, 2018
Denver, CO

Rail Conference
June 10-13, 2018
Denver, CO


Jacksonville Top of List for Driverless Transportation—APTA Chair Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., CEO of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority, discusses autonomous vehicles in a video for CBS.

Transportation Projects in Blue States in Potential Jeopardy—Critics say the infrastructure plan favors little-populated rural areas to the detriment of urban America, according to a POLITICO report.

Leaders Decry Infrastructure Plan—Bay Area politicians and transport officials describe the infrastructure proposal as "woefully inadequate," according to a Mercury News report.

UITP Launches #PT4ME—
The International Association of Public Transport has launched a video and global campaign to advance the safety of women in public transport.

Art Takes a Bus Ride—
The 14th Annual Art Takes a Bus Ride contest gives 1st-6th graders a chance to have their artwork displayed on the side of a SamTrans bus for a year.

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