APTA | Passenger Transport
December 21, 2009

In This Issue


Check the classifieds in this issue for information about numerous managerial and supervisory positions!


Transit Funding Approved for 2010; Awaiting Presidentís Signature

The House and Senate have approved a $1.07 trillion omnibus appropriations measure that the president is expected to sign. Within this bill—the Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 Departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations, which includes all discretionary funding for DOT—is $10.7 billion for public transit programs: an all-time high, representing an increase of more than $500 million over FY 2009. In addition, $2.5 billion in grants is provided to support intercity rail service and high-speed rail corridors within the programs of the Federal Railroad Association. [More]

House, Senate Examine Rail Transit Safety

Rail transit safety is a significant issue on Capitol Hill, with a focus on funding infrastructure. The House held a recent hearing to look at the federal role in ensuring public transit safety; the Senate called its own hearing to consider the Obama administration’s proposal to overhaul safety regulation of the nation's subway and light-rail systems. [More]

ITS America Letter Thanks Obama for Support of Transportation Jobs; APTA Among Signatories

APTA is among the signatories of a letter to President Barack Obama from Scott F. Belcher, president of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America, thanking the president for his support of creating jobs through the modernization of the nation’s transportation and communications infrastructure. [More]

Happy Holidays from 'Passenger Transport'

APTA joins all its members in wishing Passenger Transport’s readers a happy holiday season. [More]

Metro Transit Completes Its Hiawatha Line

 Metro Transit in Minneapolis/St. Paul celebrated the completion of its Hiawatha Light Rail Line with the Dec. 12 opening of the final station, American Boulevard Station, in Bloomington, MN. [More]

Transit Ridership Numbers Reflect Economic Situation

With high unemployment, significant decreases in gasoline prices, and less state and local revenue available for public transportation operations, U.S. public transit ridership declined by 3.8 percent in the first nine months of 2009 compared to record levels in the same period last year. Trip numbers on all major modes—bus, light rail, heavy rail, and commuter rail—declined; paratransit (demand-response) and trolleybus, however, saw increases. [More]

Denver RTD Names Washington to Top Position

The Regional Transportation District (RTD) Board of Directors in Denver voted Dec. 15 to name Phillip Washington its new general manager and chief executive officer. He has served in this post on an interim basis since General Manager Cal Marsella stepped down in July. [More]

Wells Is New Administrator of Maryland MTA

The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) has announced the promotion of 20-year MTA employee Ralign T. Wells to the position of administrator. He succeeds Paul J. Wiedefeld, who is assuming a leadership role at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport. [More]

First UMTA Administrator Villarreal Dies

Carlos C. Villarreal, 85, of Rockville, MD, who served in the Nixon administration as the first head of the Urban Mass Transportation Administration, now the Federal Transit Administration, died Dec. 14. [More]

Stephen Parry Dies; Longtime Transit Professional

Stephen T. Parry, 59, a transportation planner who began his career while a student at Occidental College in Los Angeles, died Nov. 29 of complications from a hemorrhagic stroke. [More]


Reviewing the Best and Worst of Times for Public Transit in 2009

To quote Dickens in reference to last year: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” [More]


Communicating the Many Benefits of Public Transit
BY SUSAN R. PAISNER, Senior Managing Editor

Who knows the many benefits of public transportation? The readers of Passenger Transport certainly do. But do they take full advantage of the stories they have to share about those benefits? [More]


2009: The Legislative Year in Review

The past year has been a notable one for public transportation, both for issues facing the industry and the legislative steps taken in response. [More]

High-Speed Rail Tops New Policy Directions for 2009
BY ART GUZZETTI, APTA Vice President-Policy

As much as any year in recent memory, 2009 saw the emergence of new directions in transportation policy: high-speed rail as a national priority; increasing attention to climate change; new directions put forth by the Obama administration; and the need to align APTA’s governance and committee structure with long-term changes. [More]

Rail, Bus Systems Move Forward Across North America in 2009

The year now ending was a noteworthy one for the opening of new rail transit systems. [More]

APTA Standards Promote Safety and Efficiency
BY KEVIN DOW, APTA Program Manager-Technical Services

One of APTA’s key efforts has been to bring together public transit agencies, business members, and the federal government to write consensus-based and voluntary standards for the industry. These standards are designed to improve safety, reliability, performance, and efficiency of agency operations and equipment. [More]

At TriMet, Much to Celebrate Even in Tough Economic Times
BY CAROLYN YOUNG, Executive Director of Communication and Technology, Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon, Portland, OR

 What a difference a year makes. To the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet), 2008 brought record ridership and, at times, too much of a good thing. Buses and trains were overcrowded and agencies did not have enough revenues to expand service to meet the demand. [More]

2009 at the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District
BY TOM COSTELLO, Assistant General Manager, Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District, Urbana, IL

The year 2009 was challenging for everyone at the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD) and, fortunately, everyone was up to the challenge. [More]

Small Urban and Rural Transit Center Grows to Meet Industry Challenges
BY JILL HOUGH, Ph.D., Program Director, Small Urban & Rural Transit Center, and TOM JIRIK, Communications Coordinator, Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND

The Small Urban & Rural Transit Center (SURTC) at North Dakota State University is helping small transit agencies address high fuel prices, economic concerns, changing demographics, and other factors that are having significant impacts on their systems. [More]

This Year at the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority
BY BONNIE ARNOLD, Director of Marketing, South Florida Regional Transportation Authority/Tri-Rail, Pompano Beach, FL

This year, the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA) celebrated the 20th anniversary of Tri-Rail, marking a major milestone in the history of an organization that was put into service as a five-year traffic mitigation project. We also celebrated the fact that, for the first time in its history, Tri-Rail carried more than four million passengers in one 12-month calendar cycle. [More]

Sound Transitís Central Link Light Rail Line: A Major Milestone for Regional Service
BY CLIFF HENKE, Senior Analyst, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Arcadia, CA

Sound Transit in Seattle achieved a major milestone this year in its development of a regional multi-modal transit system with the July opening of the Central Link Light Rail line. The line connects downtown Seattle with Tukwila, WA, 13.9 miles to the south; a 1.7-mile segment between Tukwila and Sea-Tac International Airport opened Dec. 19. [More]

Public Transportation in 2009: A Look Back in Pictures

Here are some scenes from 2009 events of importance to the public transportation community, as they were covered by Passenger Transport. [More]

Palm Tran Reports Its Major Accomplishments in 2009
BY CHUCK COHEN, Executive Director, Palm Tran, West Palm Beach, FL

For Palm Tran, 2009 represents a year of project completions, service implementations, new beginnings, and increased ridership. The agency has celebrated grand openings, ribbon cuttings, and ridership rebounds—all while working to increase the availability of public transportation in Palm Beach County. [More]

NJ TRANSITís Year in Review
BY FLORA M. CASTILLO, Board Member, New Jersey Transit Corporation, Newark, NJ

This was a productive, eventful year for New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJ TRANSIT). Throughout 2009, the agency advanced several expansion projects, service enhancements, and customer service initiatives under the leadership of its board of directors. [More]

Industry Says Goodbye to Transit Leaders, Advocates

Over the past year, the public transportation industry said goodbye to transit agency chief executives and board chairs, a former U.S. secretary of transportation, an influential conservative leader and outspoken transit booster, and long-time transit professionals. Here’s how they were remembered in the pages of Passenger Transport. [More]

An Active Year for TCRP

The Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) reported a very active year in 2009, publishing 26 reports: 10 research reports, two legal research digests, five research results documents, two syntheses, and seven web-only documents. [More]


Art Students Bring Green Display to Big Blue Bus Store

Who knew that a pile of recycled bus maps could be transformed into a wintry forest of elegant birch trees? Or that discarded plastic shopping bags could be shredded to look like freshly fallen snow? And who would think of taking eight tiny toy buses, outfitting them with reindeer horns, and launching them into the air, connected to some kind of invisible sleigh? [More]

Pierce Transit Mourns Loss of Four Police Officers

Pierce Transit in Lakewood, WA, provided transportation to 8,000 police officers and firefighters attending the Dec. 8 memorial service at the Tacoma Dome for four members of the Lakewood Police Department killed Nov. 29. [More]

Eno Extends Deadline for Upcoming Transit Executive Seminars

The Eno Transportation Foundation has extended the nomination deadline for the 2010 Eno Transit Executive Seminar until Jan. 11, 2010. Two sessions are available, each limited to 25 students: April 18-23 in Salt Lake City and July 18-23 in Washington. [More]


FHWA Administrator Stresses Intermodal Benefits of Public Transit

“We cannot maximize the benefits of intermodal transit unless the systems are in good repair,” said Victor Mendez, administrator of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Dec. 8 at APTA’s monthly Transportation Tuesday session—the first time an FHWA administrator spoke in the APTA offices in Washington, DC. [More]

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