APTA | Passenger Transport
January 18, 2010

In This Issue

Employment positions in this issue's classifieds include an Executive Director; an Executive Director, Operations; and a Chief Operations Officer!


Transit Agencies ‘Tell Their Story’ to Members of Congress; First Annual ‘District Days’ Find Success

APTA member public transportation agencies and businesses across the U.S. opened their facilities to their members of Congress and held events during APTA’s “Telling Your Story to Congress District Days,” Jan. 6-8. As the Senate does not reconvene until Jan. 19, this program was extended to take advantage of the ongoing presence of senators in their home states.

The purpose of the visits was to show congressional representatives the importance of passing long-term surface transportation authorization when they return to Washington, because the current extension lasts only through February. Another federal issue of importance to public transit is the forthcoming jobs bill, which will provide more opportunity for lawmakers to make the most of public transportation's job benefits.

Here are a few examples of how transit systems used their “District Days” to reach out to Congress.

Groundbreaking and Dedications in Texas
The Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority (CCRTA) broke ground Jan. 6 for the first new bus shelter in what will eventually be a system-wide improvement and enhancement program funded with $2.9 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds. A constituent representative for Rep. Solomon Ortiz (D-TX) attended the event.

Karina Paris, CCRTA marketing specialist, explained that the construction program will improve bus stop accessibility at more than 360 locations with the installation of landing pads, curb cuts, shelter pads, sidewalk improvements, and curb and gutter repairs.

“We know that the foundation of ARRA is to create jobs, to really impact the community and start the process toward recovery mode,” Paris said. “Public transportation is there to revitalize communities, so we chose a part of the city that needs a little start. Eventually, this effort will change our entire service area.”

Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) came to Fort Worth Jan. 7—despite an early morning ice storm and atypical temperatures in the teens—to help the Fort Worth Transportation Authority (The T) dedicate 12 new downtown transit shelters. The T designed the new shelters in collaboration with committees of downtown stakeholders led by Downtown Fort Worth Inc. using a $600,000 Federal Transit Administration grant secured by Granger.

Two separate citizen committees recommended a new shelter design and new shelter graphics with the goal of enhancing the major downtown bus corridors along Houston and Throckmorton streets. As a result, The T’s sleek new steel shelters contain such passenger amenities as improved lighting, Fort Worth heritage photos, and large transit information displays. They replace 20-year-old concrete and wood structures that also took up unnecessary sidewalk space.

“Fort Worth has a beautiful, dynamic downtown, and the partnerships that helped to develop these new passenger shelters make it even better,” said Granger, adding: “The T is a pleasure to work with as it continues to make transit more accessible and as more people use public transportation in our city.”

Because of the unusual and unseasonable cold, The T served hot chocolate at the event.

Enhancements in California
The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) in Oakland, CA, welcomed recently elected Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) for a Jan. 7 tour of the $38 million Central Contra Costa County Crossover project, which received $13 million in ARRA funding. The project is putting thousands of people to work and ultimately will provide riders on BART’s Pittsburg/Bay Point line with more seating, more trains, and improved on-time performance during their commute.

Also in California, the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board in San Carlos, which administers Caltrain commuter rail, welcomed Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) to its Jan. 7 meeting. Speier reported on federal transportation issues that impact the agency, including the inclusion of funding for Caltrain’s Positive Train Control project in Fiscal Year 2010 appropriations and support in ARRA for ongoing track rehabilitation and capacity increases in the Bike on Board program.

On Jan. 4, the San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans) in San Carlos announced the introduction of 137 new buses, funded largely through ARRA. The agency said the new buses will be responsible for the preservation or creation of over 100 jobs in the region.

Touring in Tennessee
In Memphis, TN, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) joined the Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) Board of Directors—including APTA Chair M.P. Carter—for a briefing and tour of the MATA transit facility, also on Jan. 7. A representative of Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) also participated in the board event.

Welcoming Representatives in Indiana and Washington State
Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) braved snow and cold to join Citilink in Fort Wayne, IN, on Jan. 7 as the agency welcomed five new Glaval Titan II light duty vehicles made in Elkhart, IN. These vehicles replace almost half of Citilink’s current Access paratransit bus fleet.

“The same companies that are suffering from the slump in recreational vehicle sales benefit from this transit vehicle order. We are pleased to help our Northeast Indiana neighbors and improve the safety and efficiency of our fleet,” said Ken Housden, Citilink general manager.

On Jan. 8, Community Transit in Snohomish County, WA, welcomed Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) to its Merrill Creek Operations Base and a trip on the Swift bus rapid transit line. He boarded the bus at the southbound Casino Road station in Everett and rode to the Lincoln Way station in unincorporated Snohomish County. 



Rep. Kay Granger joins Bob Jameson, center, The T’s past chair and current director, and current Chair Bob Parmelee in ribbon-cutting ceremonies Jan. 7 for one of 12 new downtown passenger shelters.

Rep. Steve Cohen, second from right, meets with Memphis Area Transit Authority representatives, from left, Dr. Fred Johnson, board chairman; Will Hudson, president/general manager; board member and APTA Chair M.P. Carter; and Memphis City Council member Bill Boyd.


Ken Housden, left, general manager of Citilink, and Rep. Mark Souder stand before the Fort Wayne agency’s five new paratransit vehicles




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