APTA | Passenger Transport
March 2, 2009

In This Issue


Obama Releases $3.6 Trillion Budget Plan for FY 2010; Includes $72.5 Billion for U.S. DOT

President Obama released his proposed $3.6 trillion federal budget “framework” for Fiscal Years 2010 and beyond on Feb. 26. The specifics of the budget (including all account-level data) are expected to be released in April. [More]

Obama Promotes Transit to Congress and the Nation

In President Barack Obama’s first address to a Joint Session of Congress (the equivalent of a State of the Union Speech in a non-election year) on Feb. 24, he cited public transportation among his administration’s top priorities.

As he began his discussion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and how it will save or create 3.5 million jobs over the next two years, he said: "More than 90 percent of these jobs will be in the private sector--jobs rebuilding our roads and bridges; constructing wind turbines and solar panels; laying broadband and expanding mass transit." [More]

Commission Report: Increase Investment at All Levels

All levels of government—federal, state, regional, and local—must increase their financial investment in transportation to overcome the current shortfall, and the federal government must take a strong role in the process. [More]

FY 2009 Omnibus Bill Provides Record $10.23 Billion for Public Transit
By JOHN R. BELL, Program Manager-Communications

The long-awaited Fiscal Year 2009 federal budget omnibus bill passed Feb. 25 by the U.S. House of Representatives includes $10.23 billion in new budget authority for public transportation--$740 million more than the FY 2008 budget and an all-time high for transit. [More]

Blumenauer Plan Calls for Transportation Financing Reforms
By JOHN R. BELL, Program Manager-Communications

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), a member of the House Ways and Means and Budget committees, convened a discussion with industry leaders on ways to reform infrastructure financing so solvency can be restored to the Highway Trust Fund. Reforms advocated at the Feb. 27 event, held at the National Press Club in Washington, include an increase in the gas tax and an eventual shift to a fee based on Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) instead of per gallon of fuel—a system pioneered in Oregon. [More]


FTA Updates Recovery Act Apportionment Guidance

With the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), the Federal Transit Administration has now posted preliminary information about apportionments (distribution of transportation stimulus funds through formula programs) on its web site. [More]

Light Rail Crews Dig Up the Past in Norfolk, VA
By SUSAN BERLIN, Senior Editor

The history of Norfolk, VA, dates back more than 300 years, and surprising amounts of it are hiding just underfoot. That’s what work crews for Hampton Roads Transit are discovering as they excavate downtown sites in preparation for construction of The Tide light rail line. [More]

UITP to Convene 58th Congress; FTA, APTA Promoting U.S. Firms

The International Association of Public Transport’s (UITP) 58th World Congress and concurrent Mobility & City Transport Exhibition will take place June 7-11 in Vienna, Austria.  The Federal Transit Administration, working in conjunction with APTA and the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service in Vienna, is providing assistance to participating U.S. companies. [More]

Growth Through Exports: Taking the Risk Out of Selling Abroad
By DAN RENBERG, Partner, Arent Fox LLP, Washington, DC

In the challenging economic climate of today, companies need to explore new options to expand sales and reduce risks. Whether you sell products, services, or technologies, domestic demand in 2009 may not be sufficient to meet your revenue targets, which is why international sales may provide additional opportunities for revenue growth by increasing your sales volume or offering the chance to sell the same product at higher margins because of higher demand. [More]

COMTO Sponsors Summit on Transportation and the Economy

On March 5, the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials will sponsor a summit examining the impact of the $900 billion economic stimulus legislation recently signed by President Obama. The law firm Patton Boggs LLP will host the event at its offices, 2550 M St. N.W., Washington, DC. [More]

Simpson, Little, Nagaraja Form Spartan Solutions

Three former federal transportation and transit industry officials have formed Spartan Solutions Inc. to provide comprehensive strategic advisory services to private industry, state transportation departments, and transit operators.

Tampa’s HART Provides ‘Super’ Service on Game Day; in Pittsburgh, A Winning Game Plan for Steelers Celebration

When the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals met at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL, for Super Bowl XLIII, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit was standing by to provide a record number of rides. Most of these were on the TECO Line Streetcar System, which provided more than 45,000 rides during Super Bowl weekend, compared with 2,500 on a regular Saturday or 1,200 on an average weekday. [More]


A Conversation with HART's David Armijo: Part 2 of 2

In my last column, I shared points that David Armijo, chief executive officer of the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) in Tampa, FL, made over the course of our recent half-day meeting, touching on strategic issues facing HART and critical CEO attributes and skills. This column continues the dialogue.


Oberstar, Mica, Blumenauer Headline APTA Legislative Conference; LaHood to Speak Monday Afternoon

“The essential ingredient of politics is timing,” declared former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. This is certainly the case for APTA’s 34th Annual Legislative Conference, to be held at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Washington. [More]

APTA Committee Approves Security and Emergency Preparedness Plan

Recent worldwide terrorist attacks on transportation systems have created a climate of heightened risk and security awareness. The inherently open and easily accessible nature of transit systems, coupled with this heightened state of alert, has in turn greatly increased the importance of security throughout the transit industry. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have recognized and responded to this increased importance by placing their own emphasis on transit security. [More]


Register Now for Fare Collection Workshop

APTA reminds fare collection professionals that they still have time to register for the 2009 Fare Collection Workshop, March 16-18 in Houston. This workshop provides everything from basic training to setting fare policy to industry-wide best practices for small and large transit systems alike. [More]


Stimulus Funding for Transit: A Long Time Coming
By DONNA AGGAZIO YOUNG, for Passenger Transport

Someone once said, “Success is simple: Do what’s right, the right way, at the right time.” With our nation facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, a “perfect storm” emerged for a successful effort to champion public transportation as a part of the nation’s plan to regain long-term growth and prosperity. [More]

Navigating That Capitol Hill Maze: Tracking the Legislative Process
By SUSAN BERLIN, Senior Editor

The legislative process is the backbone of federal funding for public transportation, but—like a human spine—it’s part of a complicated organism that can’t be understood without help.  What follows is a “guided tour” that explains how bills are enacted—in this case, public transit-related bills—and why the process seems at times to take so long. [More]

Visiting Capitol Hill: What You Should Know for Successful Advocacy

How can APTA’s citizen lobbyists make the most of their time in Washington during the Legislative Conference? Here are just a few suggestions from people who have significant experience “in the trenches.” [More]

Energy Independence and Climate Change: Public Transportation’s Critical Role
By JOHN R. BELL, Program Manager-Communications

With the arrival of a new Congress and a new Administration, energy independence and climate change are at the forefront of the nation’s agenda. New legislation and regulatory actions are likely to come soon—developments that will have a major impact on public transportation. [More]


Rail Transit Systems Approve Hours of Service Limitations for Train Operators

Sometimes change happens in a logical manner. Sometimes it needs a push. In this case, it took two major precipitating accidents to effect a significant change in hours of service for rail transit operators. [More]


Rizzo Dies; MBTA Paratransit Expert

Robert P. Rizzo Jr., 60, manager, paratransit contract operations, for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority in Boston, died suddenly Feb. 17 at his home in Marshfield, MA. [More]

Elonzo Hill Dies; Vice Chair of Metra Board

Elonzo (Lonnie) Hill, 71, a longtime employee of the Chicago Transit Authority who joined the board of the Metra commuter rail system following his retirement, died Feb. 18 after battling colon cancer. [More]

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