PT Express 09-04-20
September 4, 2020 | An APTA Publication
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APTA Continues to Push Strongly for Public Transit Funding
As part of APTA’s ongoing efforts to secure much-needed additional funding for public transportation during the coronavirus pandemic, the association issued a statement Sept. 2 imploring Congress and the Administration “to provide at least $32 billion in critical federal support to enable the industry to survive during this unprecedented ongoing crisis” upon returning to Capitol Hill next week.
Reduced revenues due to depressed ridership, paused fare collection and reduced tax revenues, together with increased operating costs to protect workers and riders, are devastating public transit agency budgets. These increased costs and revenue losses have resulted in almost one-third of public transit agencies being forced to furlough employees or planning future furloughs. These jobs provide access to healthcare and essential services and cannot be replicated or replaced.
Read the entire statement here.
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APTA to Launch Health and Safety Commitments Program
Health_&_Safety_Commitments_seal_white_on_blue_x150_1668066.jpgAPTA officially announces the launch of its Health and Safety Commitments Program, the public transportation industry’s overarching pledge to passengers that systems are operating safely as the nation recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, Sept. 9, 2:30 p.m. Eastern.
The APTA Health and Safety Commitments program was developed in response to a poll of public transit users from across the country as to what measures would increase confidence in using public transportation amid COVID-19 concerns. Respondents noted they want transit agencies and fellow passengers to support four broad commitments:
  • Follow public health guidelines from official sources;
  • Clean and disinfect transit vehicles frequently and require face coverings and other protections;
  • Keep passengers informed and empowered to choose the safest times and routes to ride; and
  • Put health first by requiring riders and employees to avoid public transit if they have been exposed to COVID-19 or feel ill.
The program is an initiative of APTA’s Mobility Recovery and Restoration Task Force, created by APTA Chair Nuria I. Fernandez, general manager and CEO, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, San Jose, CA; and chaired by Phillip A Washington, CEO, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
To meet these commitments, APTA has created specific policies to aid transit systems, passengers and communities. Learn more about this nationwide initiative; register for the Sept. 9 launch event here.
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New CEOs Named
Johnson, Denver RTD
Sept_4_PTX_Deborah_Johnson_x200(2)_1666674.jpgThe Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD) has named Debra Johnson as its next general manager and CEO, the first woman to serve in the role in the agency’s half-century history.
Johnson has more than 25 years of experience leading and managing business processes for public transit agencies, most recently as deputy CEO of Long Beach Transit, Long Beach, CA. She has held executive positions at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro).
Johnson will succeed general manager and CEO Paul J. Ballard, who assumed the role for an interim period in February. The agency’s former permanent general manager and CEO, Dave Genova, retired in January.
For APTA, Johnson is a member of the Bus & Paratransit CEOs and Legislative committees, among others.
Dalton, VRE
Sept_4_PTX_Rich_Dalton_x150_1671135.jpgThe Virginia Railway Express (VRE) has named Rich Dalton as CEO. He has served as acting CEO since November 2019.
Dalton has been with VRE for 11 years, including as deputy CEO and chief operating officer. Among his accomplishments, Dalton led VRE’s multi-year effort to implement positive train control (PTC).
Prior to joining VRE, Dalton spent 19 years in private industry with a global leader in passenger and freight rail. He is a military veteran, having served as a petty officer in the U.S. Navy. For APTA, he is a member of the Public Transportation CEO Coordinating Council, Rail Transit CEOs and Commuter Rail committees, and Commuter Rail CEOs Subcommittee.

Waits, National Express Transit
Sept_4_PTX_Gary_Waits_x200_1666680.jpgNational Express Transit announces the return of former CEO, Gary Waits. As the active CEO for National Express School, Gary is transitioning into the role of CEO of NEXT and will oversee both divisions of National Express LLC.
With more than 20 years of experience in the transportation industry, Waits has held various leadership positions within multiple organizations, including National Express. Judith Crawford, the current CEO of NEXT, is stepping down after more than four years of leading National Express Transit.
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In Memoriam
Joseph Alexander
Alexander-Joseph_x150_1668855.jpgJoseph Alexander, 90, a long-time APTA member, died Aug. 30. He served as APTA chair from 1983-84 and was active on numerous APTA committees, including Business Members; Emerging Leaders; Leadership APTA; Research & Technology; High-Speed & Intercity Passenger Rail; Commuter Rail; Rail Transit; Legislative; State Affairs; and Membership. He was an honorary member of the APTA Board of Directors and, in 2008, was inducted into the APTA Hall of Fame.
Alexander had a long and distinguished career, which included serving on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors from 1964-1995 and Parsons Transportation from 1995-2003. He was president of the Alexander Group from 2011-2020. The Joe Alexander Franconia-Springfield (VA) Transit Center was named in his honor.
Alexander’s expertise and well-known political savvy were instrumental in making the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Northern Virginia Transportation Commission and Virginia Railway Express the successful organizations they are today.
“Joe was a much-loved, dedicated friend in our industry. His presence made any APTA event that much more special and enjoyable for everyone. I remember him just last year at our Annual Meeting in New York where he zipped from session to session on his electric scooter, always smiling as members sought him out to chat,” said APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas. “He had an indefatigable spirit, a generous heart and a gift for storytelling. He will be sorely missed by his APTA family. Our condolences go out to his wife Davie, loved ones, friends and colleagues.”
Alexander was a veteran of the Korean War and served in the United States Air Force, where he was awarded 1st Lieutenant status.
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Upcoming APTA Virtual Events
September 9-10

LESS THAN ONE WEEK AWAY! Explore how transit agencies and the public can benefit from innovative technologies, including the latest fare payment systems, connected and autonomous vehicles, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, Mobility-as-a-Service, the Internet of Things (IoT), and big data. Also to be discussed are the newly emerging challenges related to COVID-19. Learn more and register today!
TRANScend: Critical Conversations for the Year Ahead
October 21-22
Connect with your peers and explore perspectives on the six biggest questions for the year ahead and how to rise above current challenges. Topics covered will include the long-term impacts of COVID-19, bringing passengers back, putting equity in the forefront, the changing landscape of cities, policing in a new era and more. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from thought leaders and exchange ideas! Learn more and register.
APTA’s Emerging Leaders Program Class of 2020
Capstone Projects Webinar Series
Microtransit – Under the Microscope
September 14
3:00-3:45 p.m. Eastern
This webinar analyzes a survey of public transit agencies from across the U.S. that have implemented microtransit service. It also examines a pilot project from CATA in State College, PA, and how its ridership and cost data may relate to other agencies with microtransit programs. Learn more and register.
In Case You Missed It
Missed APTA’s 2020 Sustainability & Multimodal Planning Workshop?
Purchase access to on-demand content and learn techniques that increase efficiency, resiliency and integration. Hear from industry thought-leaders on topics related to service planning and scheduling in response to COVID-19, sustainable capital programming, equity in transit service planning and delivery, facilities planning, clean bus technologies, and route design and service planning for enhanced mobility. Learn more.
APTA’s webinars are archived and available to the public transit industry. Please click here to access APTA’s library of recordings and videos to keep informed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Without fares and local tax revenue to keep half a million transit employees employed and millions more who rely on transit to keep their jobs, the cash will have to come from the federal government.
Public transit agencies could slash services, state highway departments could grind projects to a halt and airlines could lay off thousands, without congressional involvement.
Carl Sedoryk, CEO of Monterey-Salinas Transit, explains how his agency went from moving not just people, but also food and medical services.
Maryland Transit Administration planning significant reductions to bus, MARC service next year amid coronavirus losses.
LA Metro is exploring a pathway to becoming the world's largest agency to offer its rides for free.
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