Passenger Transport Express - 10/24/2008 (Plain Text Version)

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Global Financial Upheaval Hits Systems' Leases

The current financial uncertainty is hitting 30 of the largest U.S. public transportation agencies that invested in Lease-in/Lease-out and Sale-in/Lease-out (LILO/SILO) transactions promoted and approved by the Federal Transit Administration. These transactions provided transit agencies with cash and investors with tax benefits; however, the recent downgrade of credit ratings in the financial sector has made it possible for investors to claim transit agencies are in default even though the securities are sound. APTA and transit systems are calling on the U.S. Treasury to guarantee the payments. Passenger Transport will have more about this situation in its Nov. 3 issue.

President Signs Rail Safety Bill

On Oct. 16, President Bush signed into law H.R. 2095, the compromise version of an Amtrak reauthorization/rail safety bill. The legislation authorizes Amtrak appropriations for Fiscal Years 2009 through 2013, and also includes new rail safety provisions and funding for high-speed intercity passenger routes. [return to top]

Presidential Campaigns Address Transportation Issues at Forum

Representatives from the Presidential campaigns of U.S. Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama spoke at a transportation policy forum hosted by the National Journal, the Natural Resource Defense Council, and APTA this week. 

Mortimer Downey, chairman of PB Consult and an advisor to Sen. Obama, listed three transportation issues on which Sen. Obama would immediately focus if elected: support for infrastructure as part of a short-term economic recovery measure; a national infrastructure reinvestment bank to measure economic fitness of projects; and the next surface transportation authorization -- with earmarks only for buildable projects.

Douglas Holz-Eakin, senior policy advisor to Sen. McCain, noted that the senator is concerned with congestion in ports and metropolitan areas, specifically the impact on center city economies.  Sen. McCain also is interested in moving forward without earmarks in the next  authorization, and wants to clarify the federal role in funding transportation projects.

To view the forum in its entirety, click here. Ronald Brownstein moderates a panel of experts on transportation policy. [return to top]

Save the Date: APTA’s ITS International Best Practices Workshop

Make plans to participate in APTA’s International Best Practices Workshop, Dec. 9-10 at the Hyatt at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. The workshop will focus on transit applications for Intelligent Transportation Systems, with speakers representing transit agencies, governing bodies, and suppliers. To register, visit the APTA web site. For information, contact Jessica Bechir, program manager, international programs. [return to top]

In the Media

Across North America, transit agencies and employees show their integral role in the community.

Phoenix METRO light rail stations reflect neighborhood identities.

A day in the life of an Omnitrans bus driver.

Toronto artist recreates TTC subway signs as decals for home decoration.
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