Passenger Transport Express - 03/13/2015 (Plain Text Version)
APTA Members Advocate for Public Transit at Conference
Nearly 650 industry professionals came to Washington, DC, to participate in educational sessions on the state of public transportation legislation, to hear from members of Congress and to meet with them as part of APTA's 40th Legislative Conference, March 8-10.
Speakers at the conference included FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan, FRA Acting Administrator Sarah Feinberg, Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Dean Heller (R-NV) and House T&I Highways & Transit Subcommittee Ranking Member Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC). Several mayors spoke, including Muriel Bowser (Washington, DC), Jon Giles (Mesa, AZ), Bill Applegarth (Riverton, UT) and Betsy Price (Fort Worth, TX).
APTA Chair Phillip Washington, general manager and chief executive officer, Regional Transportation District (Denver, CO), opened the conference by speaking about Stand Up 4 Transportation Day, calling it "our urgent wake-up call to Congress." Nearly 150 agencies and businesses have signed up to organize events on April 9 and advocate for investment in public transit. APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy also spoke at the Opening General Session, as did Janet Kavinoky, executive director, transportation & infrastructure, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and T. Peter Ruane, president and chief executive officer, American Road & Transportation Builders Association.
Several of the sessions were covered by C-SPAN. APTA also videotaped several sessions, which can be viewed here.
See the next issue of Passenger Transport for more coverage.
Record 10.8 Billion Trips Taken on Public Transportation
Also at the Legislative Conference, APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy announced that Americans took 10.8 billion trips on public transportation in 2014, 101 million more than the previous year. It is the highest ridership total in 58 years. This increase came despite gasoline prices declining by 42.9 cents per gallon in the fourth quarter.
Ridership increased across nearly all modes: heavy rail by 3.3 percent; commuter rail, 2.0 percent; light rail, 3.6 percent; and demand response (paratransit), 0.2 percent.[return to top]
Senate Committee Holds Reauthorization Roundtables
The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs held two roundtables on March 10 devoted to gathering information as Congress begins to craft a fiscally responsible, long-term surface transportation authorization bill. The first discussion focused on bus operation, touching on issues related to capital and operating expenses, state of good repair needs, safety, planning and workforce development. The second session was devoted to reauthorization issues unique to rail fixed guideway systems, including safety, state of good repair needs, asset management, workforce development and capital and operating expenses. APTA members spoke at both roundtables. See the next issue of Passenger Transport for more details.[return to top]
Melaniphy, AASHTO Brief Congress
APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy and Bud Wright, executive director, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), spoke about the need for more federal investment in America’s public transportation system at an event on Capitol Hill hosted by APTA and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute in conjunction with AASHTO. The recent AASHTO-APTA Bottom Line report estimates that $43 billion is needed annually to improve system performance and condition, given an expected 2.4 percent annual growth in passenger miles.
APTA Chair Phil Washington to Take Helm at LA Metro
Phillip Washington, APTA chair for 2014-2015, is joining Los Angeles Metro as its new chief executive officer following a 16-year career with the Regional Transportation District in Denver, where he has been chief executive officer since 2009 and was earlier assistant general manager. “Phil Washington is the ideal person to manage our $36 billion transportation infrastructure program to ease congestion, cut smog and boost our economy for decades to come,” Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti said at a March 12 event. In Denver, Washington was implementing the FasTracks program, one of the nation’s largest voter-approved public transit expansion programs. His departure date from RTD has not yet been announced. In addition to the APTA Executive Committee and Board of Directors, Washington chairs the Diversity Council and is a member of numerous APTA committees. [return to top]
DOT Publishes Final Rule on Reasonable Modification
US DOT is revising its rules under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, specifically to provide that transportation entities are required to make reasonable modifications/ accommodations to policies, practices and procedures to avoid discrimination and ensure that their programs are accessible to individuals with disabilities. The rule is effective July 13, 2015. [return to top]
SAVE THE DATE
National Geographic's Andrew Evers will be speaking about his 12,000-mile bus journey from Washington, DC to Antarctica at APTA's 2015 Bus & Paratransit Conference, May 3-6 in Fort Worth, TX. Workshops and sessions cover timely issues of widespread interest in policy and planning, maintenance, safety and security, procurement, Bus Rapid Transit and accessible public transportation. The conference also features the industry's premier bus display and exhibitor showcase. Sign up now! [return to top]
IN THE MEDIA
Investments in public transit pay dividends in the form of reduced congestion, increased economic growth and more sustainable infrastructure.