Passenger Transport Express - 06/06/2014 (Plain Text Version)

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Congress Discussing Surface Transportation Reauthorization

House Republicans have said they intend to bring an eight-month surface transportation extension and $12 billion Highway Trust Fund bailout to the floor by the end of June. The House Leadership proposal aims to use savings from reform of the U.S. Postal Service to offset the bailout. Senate Finance Committee members held a closed meeting on June 4 to discuss funding offsets for the upcoming Highway Trust Fund bailout and surface transportation reauthorization bill. Congress must address the Highway Trust Fund revenue shortfall before the end of July or federal aid highway reimbursements to states will need to be slowed in order to maintain fiscal stability.

FTA Makes $100 Million Available to Expand Bus Services

FTA made available approximately $100 million in competitive grant funds through its Ladders of Opportunity Initiative on June 4. The funds may be used to modernize and expand public transit bus services that connect disadvantaged and low-income individuals, veterans, older Americans, youths, and other riders with workforce training, employment centers, and health care. [return to top]

Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Passes THUD Bill

The Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) passed its version of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 THUD Appropriations bill on June 3.

In FY15, the Senate bill would continue transit formula grants at FY14 levels, totaling $8.6 billion--the same level as the House bill. The Senate would nearly double--at $36.5 million, including $3 million for TCRP--the amount provided for research and technical assistance programs, as compared to the House.

The Senate bill provides $2.2 billion for Capital Investment grants (New Starts), compared to $1.7 billion in the House bill. The Senate bill also includes $550 million for TIGER Grants, with the House bill at $100 million.

Additionally, the Senate would restore the $200 million cut to Amtrak grants proposed by the House and set Amtrak funding at $1.4 billion, the level provided in FY14. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority would continue to receive $150 million, as authorized under separate legislation.

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Senate Commerce Holds Reauthorization Hearing

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation's Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security held a hearing on surface transportation on June 4.

Subcommittee Chairman Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) opened the hearing by expressing the need for rail and safety funding to be included in the next surface transportation reauthorization bill. FRA Administrator Joseph Szabo noted the decade-long, downward trend of train accidents and derailments. He also said the administration's GROW AMERICA proposal would address rail safety needs by providing $2.3 billion to support Positive Train Control (PTC) implementation by commuter rail providers and by authorizing FRA to provide provisional PTC certifications under circumstances. Szabo added that the administration's proposal would be the first to provide dedicated, long-term passenger rail funding. [return to top]

FTA and FHWA Issue NPRM on Planning

FTA and FHWA issued policy guidance on implementing the provision of MAP-21 that requires every Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) that serves a transportation management area of over 200,000 residents to have representation by public transportation providers. The purpose of the guidance is to assist MPOs and public transportation providers in complying with new requirements.

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Early bird registration is now open for APTA's Transit Board Members & Board Support Seminar July 19-22 in Cleveland. This meeting, open only to board members and commissioners of APTA member transit systems and clerks of the board, offers sessions in such areas as the board member's role in workforce development, strategic planning, succession planning, working with the chief executive, safety oversight, advocacy, labor relations, and more. Sign up now!   [return to top]


The Transportation Research Board examines innovative operating strategies for paratransit services.

Look at the heavy rail systems that changed America.

States find unique ways to prepare infrastructure budgets. [return to top]