Passenger Transport Express - 02/13/2015 (Plain Text Version)
Congress Hearing Focuses on HTF, Public Transportation
DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx testified about the need for a robust surface transportation bill before the House Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee on Feb. 11. "At a time when we need to be building more, we're building less," he told policymakers. Several members of Congress suggested eliminating public transit funding from the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). Calling such an action "catastrophic" for public transit riders, APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy fired back in a statement, saying "Public transportation is an essential part of the nation's integrated, interdependent surface transportation system."
The hearing was followed by a Q & A Town Hall on Twitter, where Foxx and T&I Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) answered questions about public transit and investment. Foxx also announced a bus tour to garner public support for increased infrastructure funding. APTA participated in the Shuster/Foxx Twitter Town Hall, tweeting multiple times from its @APTA_Transit account. One of APTA's tweets was retweeted more than 50 times while remaining at the top of the "Top Tweets" list in excess of an hour.
APTA also partnered with the American Road & Transportation Builders Association in advocating for the Gas Tax and keeping public transit in the HTF in a letter to the editor in the Wall Street Journal.
T & I Approves Passenger Rail Bill
The House T&I Committee passed a passenger rail bill on Feb. 12. Sponsored by the bipartisan leadership of the committee, the legislation aims to address project delivery, provides for rail finance, and retains state grants with emphasis on the Northeast Corridor. Though the bill extends programs at existing levels, it does not add much-needed growth to investments in passenger rail. [return to top]
NTSB Issues Recommendations to WMATA, FTA and APTA
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended that the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority upgrade its safety procedures by assessing its subway tunnel ventilation to verify that it is in a state of good repair, developing written ventilation policies and training staff to follow those policies. The NTSB also recommended that FTA audit public transit agencies to evaluate their tunnel ventilation systems, and that APTA educate its members about proper ventilation procedures. [return to top]
Public Transit CEOs Meet
System leaders from around the country met for APTA's 2015 Transit CEOs Seminar Feb. 7-10 in Phoenix. Mayor Greg Stanton spoke at the Opening General Session, as did Stephen Banta, Leadership APTA Committee Vice Chair and CEO, Valley Metro, Phoenix; Phillip Washington, APTA Chair and General Manager and CEO, Regional Transportation District, Denver; and Michael Melaniphy, APTA President & CEO. Other sessions covered legislative issues, the Stand Up For Transportation Day, workforce development, overhauling services, increasing farebox recovery and more. See more details in the next issue of Passenger Transport.[return to top]
APTA Signs Letter about Wi-Fi
APTA and other transportation associations sent a letter to Congress opposing a bill that would jeopardize the implementation of safety critical crash avoidance systems by opening previously dedicated auto safety spectrum to unlicensed Wi-Fi users. "Connected vehicle technology may significantly impact the future of auto safety and must be protected," reads the letter, which was also signed by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials, the Intelligent Transportation Society of America and AAA, among other APTA partners. [return to top]
SAVE THE DATE
APTA's 2015 Legislative Conference is March 8-10 in Washington, DC. The conference offers sessions with key members of Congress, Hill staff, administration officials and Washington opinion makers. Sign up now![return to top]
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