April 28, 2017
House and Senate Pass Short-Term Continuing Resolution

The House and Senate today passed a one-week Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government through May 5. The president has until midnight to sign the bill. Negotiations on a full-year Fiscal Year 2017 appropriations bill are continuing, although congressional negotiators have indicated they need more time to finalize the legislation. Indications from sources on Capitol Hill are that Congress will complete the full FY 2017 appropriations process next week, especially now that issues such as the border wall and the Affordable Care Act have reportedly been removed from negotiations.

» GoDurham, NC, seeks a general manager. [More]
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APTA Brings 'Main Street' Public Transit Stories to Capitol Hill

     Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL)

     L to R: White, Dillard, Fisher, Smith and Cliff Johnson of The 
     National Journal
, who moderated the event. Photos by Steve Barrett.

In an April 26 policy forum titled “Public Transportation’s Impact on Main Street USA,” APTA brought together Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), Kirk Dillard, board chair of the Chicago Regional Transportation Authority and former Illinois state senator; Mark Fisher, board member of IndyGo and chief policy officer at the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce; and Scott Smith, CEO of Valley Metro (Phoenix) and former mayor of Mesa, AZ. See an op-ed on infrastructure investment by Dillard published in The Hill today here.

Proposed Budget Cuts Put 800,000 Jobs at Risk
APTA Acting President & CEO Richard White moderated a conference call with about 20 media outlets featuring Dillard, Fisher and Smith, who shared their communities’ success stories about investment in public transit. In  addition, APTA released a new research report and statement prior to the policy forum and media call, showing that the administration’s proposed budget cuts to public transit would put at risk 800,000 jobs. The cuts would halt progress on 53 new and expanded public transit projects (totaling $38 billion) that benefit America’s “main street” economies in 23 states, resulting in $90 billion in lost economic output.

U.S. Chamber OK with Increasing Federal Fuel Tax

Ed Mortimer, executive director, transportation infrastructure, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, spoke about the chamber's support for adjustments to the federal fuel tax that supports the Highway Trust Fund at "Rebuilding America: A New Infrastructure Agenda," an April 24 event in Washington, DC, hosted by Politico.

"Members of Congress understand that infrastructure is a national need, critical to our well-being; it's not just the economy, it's our quality of life," he said. "Now's the time to do it. We've been talking about this for many years."

Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) were among the other speakers at the event, which considered the prospects for a major national infrastructure initiative from the new administration and Congress. 

DOT Sec. Chao: Gov. Baker 'Persuasive' on Proposed MBTA Extension

During her visit last week to the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, MA, DOT Secretary Elaine L. Chao said she and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker have been in regular contact regarding a possible $1 billion federal grant for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's Green Line extension. According to the Boston Globe, Chao called Baker's advocacy "noteworthy and persuasive," but said she did not know "what the answer will be yet" on the project.

$55 Million Available in FTA Low-No Bus Funds

FTA is accepting applications through June 26 for up to $55 million in competitive grant funds through its Low or No Emission (Low-No) Bus Program. This program supports projects sponsored by local public transit agencies to bring advanced, American-made bus technologies, such as battery electric power and hydrogen fuel cells, into service nationwide.

FTA will award the grants to eligible transit agencies, state DOTs and Native American tribes on a competitive basis. Project selections will be announced within 75 days of the closing of the application period and no later than Sept. 30. For information, contact Tara Clark or see the FAQs.

APTA reminds its rail system members that the International Rail Rodeo is only six weeks away: June 8-11 in Baltimore, immediately preceding the APTA Rail Conference, June 11-14. Teams of rail operators and maintainers from across North America will compete to demonstrate their skills; the winners receive recognition at the Rail Rodeo Awards Banquet the night of June 11. Register here for the Rail Rodeo and click here to learn more about the Rail Conference.


Cut Transit; Lose Jobs: The Hill summarizes APTA’s new report finding that President Trump’s proposed DOT budget cuts jeopardize $38 billion in planned public transit projects and 800,000 jobs directly related to projects already in the pipeline, including 300,000 jobs resulting from transit’s proven economic impact.

No Free Lunch
: This guest editorial in Time magazine credits President Trump with “shining a bright light” on infrastructure, but says the next step is to acknowledge that investments require funding.

24 Hours of Transit
: Watch this colorful 1:30 animated video depicting a full day of transit in New York City, starting at midnight and ending at 11:59 p.m.

An Up-Lifting Story: Heavy-duty lift manufacturer Stertil-Koni was recently featured in an episode of Jay Leno’s Garage, when Leno said his four Stertil-Koni Earthlifts can attract more attention than the classic and vintage vehicles they hoist. Watch the action at 19:14 here.

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