Passenger Transport Express - 11/14/2014 (Plain Text Version)
APTA Sends Letter to Congress on FY 2015 Appropriations Bills
APTA sent a letter this week to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees urging policymakers to "strengthen federal investment in public transportation systems in communities nationwide" as they act on FY 2015 appropriations bills. The current Continuing Resolution (CR), which extended funding for federal programs and agencies, expires on Dec. 11, 2014. "Record-high transit ridership and our growing backlog of systems preservation needs to make clear that significant increases in authorizations for our trust-funded programs are warranted in the next surface transportation authorization bill," says the letter. The letter also emphasizes key priorities between transit and research.
APTA Chair Highlights Industry Commitment to Veterans
APTA Chair and General Manager of Denver's Regional Transportation District Phillip Washington spoke about public transportation's commitment to veterans at a roundtable on railroads at the Pentagon on Nov. 12. "The public transportation industry has a welcome mat out for returning veterans," said Washington, who served in the Army for 24 years and reached the rank of command sergeant major. Careers in our industry are a logical step for returning veterans, he said. He pointed out that APTA has held two veterans' job fairs at its conferences, has a Veterans Resource Center on its website, and just launched the Transit Virtual Career Network, which offers many educational tools and resources for veterans. [return to top]
APTA Pushes for Commuter Benefits Parity
APTA joined the Commuter Benefits Coalition on Capitol Hill to urge policymakers to restore public transit benefits at parity with qualified parking benefits. As a result of a bias in the tax code, public transit riders receive a $130 monthly benefit, while the parking benefit is $250 per month. The coalition held a press conference with Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), sent a letter to other members of Congress, and met with more than 25 legislators from both parties on Nov. 12. "Let's restore equity in the tax code when it comes to commuting -- whether one commutes by public transportation or drives to work," said APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy in a statement. [return to top]
FTA Publishes Safety Overview, Regulatory Changes
FTA provided an overview of safety initiatives it will develop and announce in the coming months. In publishing the overview, FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan noted that while MAP-21 requires a number of safety-related rulemakings, much of the administration's work in safety will not entail rulemaking. It will instead be composed of policy, program guidance, technical assistance, and training. FTA also published a number of regulatory changes, and is hosting an online dialogue on private sector participation through Nov. 26. See APTA's Legislative Alert for more information. [return to top]
SAVE THE DATE
Early bird registration is open for APTA's Legislative Conference in Washington, DC, March 8 - 10. The conference offers sessions with key members of Congress, their staff, administration officials, and Washington opinion-makers. Sign up now! [return to top]
IN THE MEDIA
Automated vehicles could transform the public transportation industry.