Passenger Transport Express - 07/22/2016 (Plain Text Version)

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APTA Promotes Key Messages at GOP Convention

APTA members and staff were in Cleveland this week to advance our key messages, engage with delegates, participate in high-level discussions and raise our industry’s visibility at the Republican National Convention.  Activities included:

Hosting a reception for convention attendees with the US Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities and National Association of Counties. This was a major initiative of APTA Chair Valarie J. McCall.  Also representing APTA were Vice Chair Doran Barnes, Business Member Board of Governors Chair Patrick Scully, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) CEO & General Manager Joe Calabrese and APTA senior staff.

A presence at policy forums on infrastructure and tax sponsored by Building America’s Future and the Bipartisan Policy Center, as well as at the NLC’s “Building a 21st Century America” luncheon with former DOT Secretary Ray LaHood and at media events by Bloomberg, The Atlantic, The Washington Post and Politico.

Disseminating APTA's “Where Public Transportation Goes, Community Grows” messages on GCRTA interior bus and rail ads to highlight economic benefits generated by public transit investment.  We also distributed a brochure titled Powering Economic Growth in America: The Importance of Public Transportation Investment.

These were excellent opportunities to counter the transportation elements of the RNC platform (see next article) by promoting public transit’s value to local communities and the national economy.  To view photos, click here.

APTA Responds to GOP Platform

In a public statement released this week, APTA expressed strong opposition to elements of the GOP platform pertaining to public transportation. 

“I am extremely disappointed that the platform fails to continue the important federal role in supporting public transportation,” Acting President & CEO Richard White said.  In lieu of federal spending, the Republican Party favors more public-private partnerships and private ventures to fund public transit and related “worthwhile enterprises” such as bike-sharing programs.  GOP proposals opposed by APTA include:

-  Remove public transit from the Highway Trust Fund;
-  Oppose an increase in the federal gas tax; and
-  End federal support for high-speed rail programs.

APTA wrote to both the Republican and Democratic platform committees urging them to embrace “federal policy that supports sustained, dedicated revenue for investment in public transportation.”  APTA's letters to the RNC and DNC can be viewed here. [return to top]

Sec. Foxx Announces "Build America Bureau"

DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx announced this week the establishment of the Build America Bureau to help drive transportation infrastructure projects.  The initiative, which combines the department's Build America Transportation Investment Center (BATIC) with other DOT programs, is intended to streamline credit and grant opportunities, provide technical assistance and encourage innovative best practices.  BATIC serves as a single point of contact for states, municipalities and project sponsors seeking federal transportation expertise, applying for federal transportation credit programs or exploring ways to access private capital in public-private partnerships.  For more information, see the detailed story in next week's Passenger Transport.

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Two Views of Infrastructure Funding

Two Washington, DC-based think tanks have released differing positions on infrastructure funding for the future, reflecting opposing perspectives often found in Congress.

The Center for American Progress (CAP) recommends increasing infrastructure spending by $500 billion over the next decade through higher user fees and a 15.25 cent per gallon rise in the federal gas tax.  The organization has called for the creation of an infrastructure bank and more funding for public transit New Starts and TIGER grants.  To read CAP's An Infrastructure Plan for America, click here.

At the same time, The Heritage Foundation has released its policy guide for the new administration, which calls for DOT to cut spending by almost $590 billion over a decade.  It proposes transitioning the gas tax to 5 cents per gallon or less and limiting the Highway Trust Fund's spending to only national highway system projects.  Also, Heritage would eliminate FTA and FRA (along with other DOT agencies) and privatize some Amtrak routes.  To read The Heritage Foundation's policy proposals, click here.

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July Transit Savings Report

APTA released its monthly Transit Savings Report for July, showing that a person can save $9,686 annually — or more than $807 per month — by using public transit for daily commutes rather than a private car.  The report shows how a two-person household can save a significant amount of money by having one less car and using public transportation.  Read more about the July Savings Report here.

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July 31-Aug. 3:  Multimodal Operations Planning Workshop
Hyatt Regency Calgary  |  Calgary, AB (CANADA)
Learn more and register here.

Aug. 14-16:  State Public Transportation Partnerships / Transit Midwest Conference
Westin Crown Center  |  Kansas City, MO
Learn more and register here.

Sept. 11-14:  Annual Meeting
J.W. Marriott Los Angeles  |  Los Angeles, CA
APTA's 2016 Annual Meeting takes place several weeks earlier than in previous years.  Register here.

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Los Angeles' "Subway To the Sea" Is Less About Play and More About Work
The New York Times; July 17

A New Exhibition Explores How Transit Shaped Coney Island
CityLab; July 19

How Car-Sharing Is Already Helping Cities with Their Transit Issues
CNN Money; July 19

Why Transit Was Key in Bringing the RNC to Cleveland
The Washington Post; July 19

The Capital of Car Culture, Los Angeles Warms to Mass Transit
New York Times; July 20

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"The health of our transportation system is directly related to our economic success, but the reality is that some of these assets are centuries old and in desperate need of repair, while the need for new infrastructure continues to grow.  I am excited to announce that today we officially opened the doors of the new Build America Bureau, a center that will deliver real, tangible infrastructure development for local, regional, and national population centers."

                                                                                    DOT Sec. Anthony Foxx
                                                                                    July 20, 2016


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