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!


LaHood Announces Adoption of Long-Sought ‘New Starts’ Criteria
By JOHN R. BELL, Program Manager-Communications

In a dramatic policy shift, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Jan. 13 announced that DOT will amend its New Starts and Small Starts grant requirements to rescind the stipulation that projects attain a cost-effectiveness rating of medium in order to get funding. [More]

Szabo, Rae to Keynote Regional Seminars on High-Speed Rail

Federal Railroad Administrator (FRA) Joseph Szabo and FRA Deputy Administrator Karen Rae are among the numerous speakers scheduled to participate in three regional seminars on high-speed rail in February hosted by APTA and the International Union of Railways (UIC). The two associations developed the regional seminars, titled “International Practicum on Implementing High-Speed Rail in the United States,” to provide U.S. decision makers with the information necessary to implement high-speed rail. [More]

DOT/FRA Announce Historic New Rail Safety Standards

On Jan. 12, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Federal Railroad Administrator (FRA) Joseph Szabo announced historic safety regulations requiring the installation of Positive Train Control (PTC) technology on the nation’s major rail lines as well as commuter and intercity passenger rail routes—to enable passenger trains to prevent collisions. [More]

Catoe to Step Down from WMATA

John B. Catoe Jr., general manager of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), announced Jan. 14 that he will resign his position effective April 2. [More]

Transportation Regulators Energized by Challenges, Vision for Public Transit
BY KATHERINE LEWIS, Special to Passenger Transport

The Obama administration has ushered in a new era for public transportation with higher funding and renewed emphasis on safety, the environment, and new technology, according to DOT officials at a Jan. 12 session during the Transportation Research Board’s 89th Annual Meeting, Jan. 10-14 in Washington. [More]

Townes Honored with 2010 Sharon Banks Award

Michael S. Townes, president and chief executive officer of Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) in Hampton, VA, and APTA chair in 2007-2008, accepted the 2010 Sharon D. Banks Award for Innovative Leadership in Transportation from the Transportation Research Board (TRB) at the Jan. 13 Chairman’s Luncheon during TRB’s 89th Annual Meeting in Washington. [More]

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. [More]

FTA Extends Deadline for Quarterly ARRA Reporting

The Federal Transit Administration has announced an extension on deadlines for submitting the quarterly Milestone Progress Reports and Federal Financial Reports required under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to 30 days after the end of the quarter, effective as of the quarter that ended Dec. 31, 2009. Reports from that quarter are now due by Jan. 31, 2010. [More]

New Orleans RTA Continues Renovation with FEMA Funds

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) have announced more than $10.8 million in public assistance funding to the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) in New Orleans for facility damages resulting from the 2005 onslaught of Hurricane Katrina. [More]

Victoria Is New CEO of Omnitrans

Milo Victoria, a transit industry veteran with 33 years experience, will join Omnitrans in San Bernardino, CA, in late January as its new chief executive officer. He will succeed Durand Rall, who officially retired in December 2009 after serving in the post since 1994, but is remaining as the appointed interim CEO through the end of January. [More]

Leary Joins York Region Transit as GM

Richard J. Leary, chief operating officer with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority in Boston for the past five years, announced he has joined the York Region Transit (YRT)/Viva system in York, ON, as its new general manager. [More]

Transportation Learning Center Receives $5 Million Federal Grant

The Transportation Learning Center in Silver Spring, MD, has announced receiving a $5 million federal green jobs training grant from the Department of Labor as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. [More]


The Year Ahead: How I See It
BY M.P. CARTER, Chair, APTA, and Commissioner, Memphis Area Transit Authority, Memphis, TN

This year – 2010 – has such tremendous potential.


Cincinnati Metro’s New Articulated Buses Spread the Word

When Metro in Cincinnati decided to tell the story of the benefits of public transportation to its public, the agency chose to use the largest backdrops in its fleet—the five 60-foot articulated buses that joined the fleet at dedication ceremonies Dec. 4, 2009. The Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, originally built in 1933 as a railroad station, served as the setting for the event. [More]


2010: Public Transit Faces Legislative Challenges

Public transportation faces a variety of challenges in the year ahead. The need for Congress and the president to approve a transportation authorization bill may be the most central concern, but other issues of importance include passage of the Jobs bill; federal funding for high-speed rail projects; financing of the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF); and the possibility of federal regulatory oversight of rail transit safety. [More]

SamTrans: Redefining Its Role in a Continually Changing Economy
BY CHRISTINE DUNN, Public Information Officer, San Mateo County Transit District, San Carlos, CA

Faced with unprecedented fiscal challenges driven by slashed state budgets and a deep economic downturn, the San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans) is pressing ahead with opportunities to keep and attract riders and to redefine its role as a mobility manager. [More]

What Do You See as the Top Priority for 2010?
BY MICHAEL MELANIPHY, Vice President, Public Sector Division, Motor Coach Industries, and Second Vice Chair, APTA Business Member Board of Governors

Motor Coach Industries (MCI) would like to see a stable, long-term federal investment in public transportation. Obviously, the key to achieving that is a new six-year surface transportation bill that would provide transit agencies with the horizon they need to plan for multi-year capital procurements. This is good for the agencies, the communities they serve, and business members dedicated to this industry. [More]

Looking Ahead to a Bright Future for Public Transportation
BY BONNIE ARNOLD, Director of Marketing, South Florida Regional Transportation Authority/Tri-Rail, Pompano Beach, FL

In December 2009, the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA)—operator of Tri-Rail commuter rail—received an early holiday gift. After more than a decade of trying, the Florida State Legislature finally passed a dedicated funding source to support the agency at a specially called session to address rail issues. [More]

For DART, 2010 Means New Destinations and Opportunities
BY GARY C. THOMAS, President/Executive Director, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, Dallas, TX, and APTA Vice Chair-Rail Transit

A new year means new opportunities for ridership and job creation.

Each day, our industry is connecting tens of millions of our customers to their jobs and opportunities for education and entertainment. At the same time, many public transit agencies are creating new jobs as they add to the infrastructure of the cities they serve with new facilities.

In the case of Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), our 45-mile Green, Orange, and Blue Line DART Rail expansion is projected to generate more than $4 billion in economic activity between 2009 and 2014. [More]

Transit Leaders Must Communicate with Government at All Levels
BY R.E. “TUCK” DUNCAN, Executive Director, Kansas Public Transit Association, Topeka, KS

This year—2010—is the time for transit advocacy. No one knows transit any better than those of us in the arena of providing public transportation services. Will we rise to the challenge?

We’d better. [More]

In Lansing, CATA Is Part of a Vision for the Future
BY DEBRA ALEXANDER, Assistant Executive Director, Capital Area Transportation Authority, Lansing, MI

If you only rely on what you read in the press about mid-Michigan’s dramatic job losses and its place at the top of the national unemployment chart, it doesn‘t bode well for the future of this region. There is no question—the economic challenges are significant.

But Greater Lansing’s unstoppable spirit is driving the region forward: incubating entrepreneurial projects, supporting creative ventures, and embarking on new environmental initiatives to take us forward in a new, positive direction. [More]

Central Texas Must Take a Regional View of Transit
BY JOHN D. COWMAN, Mayor, Leander, TX, and Board Member, Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Austin, TX

Everyone seems to talk about Central Texas’ transportation issues. In downtown Austin, many solutions have been offered: trolley cars, parking garages, rubber tires and/or steel wheels, and the like. We treat traffic congestion like the weather; we act as if we have no control over it. I offer the following approach to solve our regional transportation issues. [More]

The Dawn of a New Decade: Public Transportation’s Opportunities, Issues, and Challenges
BY GREG EVANS, M.Ed., Vice President, Board of Directors, Lane Transit District, Eugene, OR, and Region VI Representative, APTA Transit Board Members Committee

As we enter a new decade, public transportation in America continues to face daunting challenges. The leaders of transit authorities across our nation are dealing with such pressing issues as passage of much-needed sweeping federal transportation authorization legislation; funding basic transit operations; service reductions; enhancing service to seniors and persons with disabilities; and the increasing role of transit in the formation and implementation of climate change policy.
 While this list is by no means all-inclusive or exhaustive regarding the issues facing our industry, the policy decisions of transit boards and transit properties throughout the U.S. will be shaped by the political, economic, and social constraints placed on us. [More]


AnsaldoBreda to Upgrade LRVs in San Francisco

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) has entered into a $54 million contract with AnsaldoBreda, a Finmeccanica company, to upgrade 143 light rail vehicles for the San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni) operated by SFMTA. The city has operated AnsaldoBreda vehicles since 1996.

Las Vegas Opens Maintenance Facility, Prepares for ACE Service

The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) in Las Vegas recently began operations in its new Sunset Maintenance Facility. Unlike the RTC’s previous home, which the agency had outgrown, the new facility can service as many as 300 fixed route transit and paratransit vehicles each day.

Fort Worth ‘T’ Employees Credited with Life-Saving Efforts

Two employees of the Fort Worth Transportation Authority (The T)—Tonia Vann, a bus operator since 2008, and Leslie McDonald, who joined the agency in 1990 and became a street supervisor in 2006—recently received recognition in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as Good Samaritans for their efforts in reviving an unconscious man at a T bus shelter. [More]

Valley Metro Opens ‘Rain Shelter’ in Mesa, AZ

Thanks to the efforts of artist Laurie Lundquist, passengers awaiting Valley Metro bus service at the southeastern corner of Main and Center streets in Mesa, AZ, near the Mesa Arts Center, can experience their trip from a new perspective. They stand underneath a canopy of shiny chrome raindrops hanging from the ceiling of the station stop, a dynamic feature that responds to the wind with movement and sound. [More]


Transit Stories from the 2010 APTA Calendar

The 2010 APTA Calendar provides public transportation agencies an opportunity to tell their story in their communities and beyond. Each month offers a different image of how “Public Transportation Takes Us There.” [More]

Workshop to Consider Many Communications Topics

The 2010 APTA Marketing & Communications Workshop, Feb. 21-24 at the Westin Beach Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, FL, will consider a number of timely and important topics for public transit marketing and communications professionals. [More]

Public Transit Can Save Riders Almost $600 More Than in January 2009

People who give up a car and take public transit save an average of $9,242 annually—a savings increase of $600 compared with the same time period last year, according to APTA’s newest Transit Savings Report. [More]

New Brochure Presents Public Transportation’s Contributions

APTA has revised and updated its popular advocacy publication that delineates the many benefits of public transportation. [More]

Webinars Highlight Transit Advocacy

The National Alliance of Public Transportation Advocates (NAPTA) and the Center for Transportation Excellence have announced the last four webinars in their monthly series on transit advocacy and support issues. [More]

Standards Available for Public Comment

The APTA Standards Program is accepting public comment through Feb. 11 on 10 documents covering Bus Rapid Transit, accessibility, and security issues. [More]


People on the Move

SAN BERNARDINO, CA—Durand Rall, chief executive officer/general manager of Omnitrans since 1994, announced his retirement effective the end of 2009. He will remain with the agency as a consultant through January.


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