Passenger Transport Express - 05/28/2010 (Plain Text Version)

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News Headlines

House Passes Tax Extenders Bill; Credit Refund for Natural Gas Remains

The House of Representatives on May 28 passed the "tax extenders" bill introduced earlier this year, including a tax credit refund for public transportation systems of 50 cents per gallon equivalent of natural gas.

The previous law authorizing the tax credit refund expired Dec. 31, 2009. However, the American Workers, State, and Business Relief Act of 2010 would allow public transit systems to claim the refund retroactively.

The Senate may consider the bill when it returns from Memorial Day recess on June 7.

New Bill Calls for $2 Billion in Emergency Operating Funds for Public Transit

On May 25, a group of senators introduced a bill that authorizes $2 billion in emergency operating funds for public transportation systems. The Public Transportation Preservation Act of 2010 was introduced by Senators Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

The legislation: "will provide urgently needed funding to alleviate the financial challenges facing public transportation systems as a result of the recession," said APTA President William Millar. "APTA strongly supports this legislation and stands ready to help secure its immediate passage."

For more information, see the latest APTA Legislative Alert. [return to top]

$600 Million in Capital Grants Now Available; Pre-Apply by July 16

Preliminary applications for $600 million in competitive capital grants are due July 16, with final applications due August 23, according to the final Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) published in the Federal Register. The grants are part of U.S. DOT's National Infrastructure Investment Grant Program. [return to top]

DOT: $80 Million of ARRA High-Speed Rail Funds Granted

The Department of Transportation has announced that $80 million of the $8 billion authorized for high-speed rail in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has now been distributed to several states. The bulk of this amount ($66 million) was granted to Florida for construction of a 168-mph rail link between Tampa and Orlando. The balance of the $80 million was granted to California, New Mexico, New York, and Wisconsin. [return to top]

Over Half of Americans Surveyed Will Use Local Public Transportation During Summer Vacation This Year

Of nearly 25,000 Americans surveyed, 52 percent said they plan to use public transportation during their vacation this summer, according to the APTA Green Travel Forecast. This is the highest percentage since the survey was begun four years ago.

"During these economic times, travelers are looking to save money and reduce their overall travel costs, yet still have the ability to enjoy their trip,” said APTA President William Millar.  “Having access to good local public transportation is becoming an essential part of a vacationer’s travel plans because it is an easy way to stretch a travel budget." [return to top]

Save the Date

Register now for the 2010 Transit Board Members Seminar and Board Support Employee Development Workshop in Eugene, OR, July 17-20. Participants will learn new ways to oversee high quality services and organizations in the board members' governance roles. In addition, educational and exchange workshops and opportunities are offered for transit board members and board support staff. [return to top]

In the Media

The New York Times featured an article discussing the dangers of jumping from a rail platform to retrieve a dropped item.

The Montreal Gazette published the top ten reasons that people use public transportation.

In Richland, WA, a longtime passenger honored Ben Franklin Transit by choosing it to implement her final wish, the Tri-City Herald reported. [return to top]