April 27, 2018
APTA's Inaugural Workforce Summit Brings Critical Strategies to the Forefront

APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas emphasizes the importance of nurturing a flexible and agile public transportation workforce.

APTA convened its first Workforce Summit on “The Changing Mobility Paradigm and its Impact on Tomorrow’s Workforce” at APTA headquarters in Washington, DC, April 25. Attendees included representatives of transit agencies, private sector companies, academia, government and associations.

The event included a series of group discussions on the strategies necessary to ensure the current and future public transportation workforce is equipped with the skills, knowledge and competencies required to support the changing mobility landscape.

A critical issue for the future of our industry, workforce development is a strategic priority for both APTA and the association’s chair, Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., chief executive officer of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority—who welcomed attendees via video message.

Leading discussions were David Stackrow, APTA vice chair; Bacarra Mauldin, APTA Executive Committee member; Paul Larrousse, chair of APTA’s Workforce Development Committee; Anna Barry, deputy commissioner of Connecticut DOT; and Kimberly Slaughter, vice president for the transit / rail market sector at the HNTB Corporation. Former APTA Chair Beverly Scott also participated by phone.

APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas highlighted APTA’s range of executive leadership and professional development programs, including Leadership APTA, a year-long program for senior executives on the fast track to the “C-Suite;” Mid-Manager Workshops conducted during APTA’s Bus & Paratransit Conference and Rail Conference; Emerging Leaders for those who have recently been promoted into managerial and leadership positions; and APTA’s Higher Education partnerships with four-year colleges and universities.

“Making the right investments in life-long learning is as important for our industry as making the right investments in capital projects,” said Skoutelas. “We need to create more flexible, agile workplaces with cultures that rely less on proscriptive rules and instead emphasize communication, strategic thinking and collaborative teamwork. Every industry in the world is competing for the best and brightest workers—and they’re investing in their workers’ futures."

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APTA Letters to Congress Stress Need for Public Transportation Funding

In a letter to House and Senate appropriators, April 27, APTA stressed the need for increased funding for public transportation in fiscal year (FY) 2019, building upon the critical infrastructure investment included in the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018.

APTA urges appropriations for federal transit programs authorized by the FAST Act at the highest possible levels, including continued funding of state of good repair and bus and bus facilities grants above FAST Act levels; and funding for CIG, CRISI, and TIGER (BUILD) grants at or above the FY 2018 appropriation.

Commuter railroads should be permitted to use these grants for PTC implementation. To date, the cost to commuter railroads of full implementation of PTC is estimated to be approximately $4 billion, not including future operating and maintenance costs of PTC. Read the letters here.

Additionally, APTA, as a member of the OneRail Coalition (a group of rail stakeholders seeking to educate America about the benefits of a strong freight and passenger rail system) signed on to a letter to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees urging robust investment in the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee.

OneRail applauds the bipartisan focus on transportation and infrastructure in the completed FY 2018 appropriations bill and urges similar or increased funding in FY 2019—reiterating the importance to a healthy economy of an extensive and well-functioning transportation infrastructure system. Read the OneRail letter here.

DOT Announces Funding Availability for New BUILD Grants

U.S. DOT has published a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) inviting public transit agencies to apply by July 19 for $1.5 billion in discretionary grant funding through the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Discretionary Grants program.

This new program will replace the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program. According to DOT, Fiscal Year 2018 BUILD Transportation grants are for investments in surface transportation infrastructure—including public transit, rail, roads, bridges, ports and intermodal transportation—and are to be awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will have a significant local or regional impact.

Reflecting the administration’s Infrastructure Initiative, DOT intends to award a greater share of BUILD grant funding to projects located in rural areas than to such projects in urban areas. The notice highlights rural needs in several of the evaluation criteria, including support for rural broadband deployment where it is part of an eligible transportation project.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 made available $1.5 billion for TIGER (BUILD) discretionary grants through Sept. 30, 2020. For this round of grants, the maximum grant award is $25 million and no more than $150 million can be awarded to a single state. At least 30 percent of funds must be awarded to projects located in rural areas.

For more information, including a list of webinars regarding the BUILD grant application process, click here.

FTA: $84.5 Million Available in Low-No Grants

FTA has announced that up to $84.5 million is available in competitive grant funds through the Low or No Emission (Low-No) Bus Program, which supports projects sponsored by local public transit agencies to bring advanced, American-made bus technologies such as battery-electric power and hydrogen fuel cells into service nationwide.

FTA must receive grant applications by June 18 from eligible recipients, which include public transit agencies, state DOTs and tribes. Projects will be evaluated by criteria defined in federal law and the Notice of Funding Opportunity, including the applicant’s demonstration of need, the project’s benefits, project implementation strategy and capacity for implementing the project.

Federal law authorizes FTA to solicit proposals through this program at a funding level of $55 million per year. The FY 2018 solicitation includes an additional $29.5 million appropriated by Congress in the FY 2018 Consolidated Appropriations Act. Program information is available here.

Three More States Achieve SSO Certification

FTA has announced that three more states—Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania—have obtained federal certification of their rail transit State Safety Oversight (SSO) programs, in advance of an April 15, 2019, deadline.

These states join Ohio, Minnesota, Utah, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Virginia and Colorado in meeting the deadline for FTA certification, bringing the total to 11 out of 30 states or territories with rail transit systems.

Arizona DOT is responsible for providing safety oversight of the Valley Metro light rail system in Phoenix and the Tucson streetcar. Georgia DOT is responsible for providing safety oversight of the Metropolitan Atlanta Regional Transit Authority heavy rail system and the Atlanta streetcar. PennDOT is responsible for providing safety oversight of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority heavy rail, light rail and trolley lines in Philadelphia, the Port Authority of Allegheny County light rail system in Pittsburgh and the Cambria County Transit Authority incline in Johnstown.

Federal law requires states with rail transit systems in the engineering or construction phase of development or in operation to obtain FTA certification of their SSO programs by April 15, 2019. If a state fails to meet the deadline, FTA is prohibited by law from awarding any new federal transit funds to public transit agencies within the state until certification is achieved.

Public Transit Users Can Save $839 a Month Over Driving

APTA's April Transit Savings Report shows that people who use public transit and live with one fewer car in a two-person household could save an average of $839 a month or $10,063 a year. Click here to see the savings in the top 20 cities with the highest public transit ridership.


What will it take to make the cities of tomorrow both smarter and safer? Building safety into Intelligent Transportation Systems. Intelligent transportation Systems are transforming the way people and goods move through busy cities and traffic corridors. And they’re also paving the way to a safer future. Get the whitepaper to learn more.

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

Only six weeks until the start of APTA's 2018 International Rail Rodeo! This event will test the skills of operators and maintainers as they vie for top honors.

Rail Conference
June 10-13, 2018
Denver, CO

Early registration discount ends today! Join your industry peers for a discussion on the changing mobility paradigm and innovations in rail transit. This must-attend conference has nearly 50 concurrent sessions on rail-related topics including workforce development, big data and enterprise risk management. Take advantage of unparalleled networking opportunities while exploring six tracks of study designed for urban, commuter, intercity passenger, and high-speed rail modes.


Purple Line Sparking Office Renaissance—Since the Purple Line broke ground in late August, signs have begun to point to a surging office market in the suburban Maryland corridor from New Carrollton to Bethesda.

Play Digs into Lives of Metro Riders—"Use All Available Doors" takes place on real underground train infrastructure—tracks shuttered in the 1960s with the end of Washington, DC's streetcar. Now, the system underneath Dupont Circle is an avant-garde performing arts space.

TOD Planned for White Plains—An office complex a block from the White Plains (NY) Metro-North station will become a mixed-use development with residences, offices, retail shops and restaurants.

Public Art Represents Aurora—An art installation resembling a celestial ferris wheel whirled in the wind at Denver RTD's Aurora light rail stop—courtesy of local Lyons' artist John King—as part of the agency's Art-n-Transit project.

Tampa and USF to Study Smart Transportation—An MOU with the Center for Urban Transportation Research at University of South Florida will facilitate how the city and university work together on smart transportation projects.

DART Art Contest: "Oh the Places DART Goes"—Doreen Chen, a student at Jasper High School in Plano, won this year's Dallas Area Rapid Transit student art contest. Chen's work will be displayed on the side of a DART bus. Winning entries will also be shown at Dallas Love Field Airport and Plano's Courtyard Theater.

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