PT 04-23-21
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April 23, 2021 | An APTA Publication
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Biden Tours Proterra Plant, Calls for Increase in Electric Bus Production

President Biden took a virtual tour of a Proterra manufacturing facility, Greenville, SC, April 19, which included demonstrations of the company’s batteries and electric buses.
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Republicans Offer Counter to Biden’s Jobs Package
 
Senior Senate Republicans offered a $568 billion counter to President Biden’s $2.25 trillion jobs package April 22. The five-year Republican framework is not directly comparable to President Biden’s American Jobs Plan. The Republican proposal would provide $61 billion for public transportation and $20 billion for rail. These amounts include the five-year authorization bill funding. Conversely, President Biden’s proposed $85 billion for public transit, $80 billion for rail, and $25 billion for zero-emission transit vehicles is in addition to the authorization bill.
 
APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas said, “This proposal cuts transit funding by $4 billion and is a major step backward for communities that want to rebuild their economy and reimagine their future. I urge the President and congressional leaders to take this historic opportunity to focus on forward-looking investment that modernizes public transit systems and meets the growing mobility demands of communities large and small.”
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Public Transit Agencies Celebrate Earth Day

Public transportation agencies celebrated Earth Day (April 22) by offering free rides to encourage the use of transit and hosting a range of special events, competitions and giveaways throughout the preceding week.
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House Passes Bill to Improve Transit Security Grants
 
This week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed APTA-supported legislation that would help public transit agencies make security grants more effective and efficient. The “Transit Security Grant Program Flexibility Act” (H.R. 396), introduced by Rep. Andrew R. Garbarino (R-NY), modifies the Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP) to clarify allowable uses of funds and establish performance periods. The bill would:
  • Allow recipients to use TSGP funds to backfill positions while employees are attending security training;
  • Codify the existing 36-month period of performance for most TSGP grants, namely funds awarded for a specific authorized use (i.e., purchasing surveillance equipment or providing security training for public transit workers);
  • Fund general security improvements for public transit systems, stations and other public transportation infrastructure over a period of at least 55 months (including those owned by state and local governments); and
  • Require the Government Accountability Office to assess the overall management of the TSGP and identify ways to better address public transit infrastructure vulnerabilities. 
The House had passed identical legislation by voice vote in May 2019, but the Senate did not act on the bill during the last Congress. APTA will continue to advocate for Senate approval of the House-passed H.R. 396.
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LIRR Announces Testing of Battery-Powered Railcars

MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) has entered into an agreement with Alstom to test batteries that could enable electric railcars to travel on the agency’s diesel branches
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COMMENTARY
 
It’s More Than Just About the Earth
 
Carrie_Butler_1864128.jpgLife has taken me on a very serendipitous journey. Growing up in the global south brought experiences that made me more aware of how precious are the smallest of opportunities. “Take them as soon as you see them,” one mentor said.
 
BY DR. CRIS B. LIBAN, P.E.
Chief Sustainability Officer
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
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Senate Appropriations Committee Holds Hearing on American Jobs Plan

The Senate Appropriations Committee held a hearing, The American Jobs Plan: Infrastructure, Climate Change, and Investing in Our Nation’s Future, April 20. Committee Chair Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) convened the hearing, which included 21 senators, calling the plan a “sweeping proposal that will inject sorely needed resources into our transit systems.” He said the “world is in an economic race, and we are losing to China. Beijing is investing heavily in new roads, railways and water infrastructure. They are investing in the economy and transportation of tomorrow, and so should we.”
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Sen. Brown, Rep. DeFazio To Address APTA Legislative Conference

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), chair of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee; and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, will address APTA’s 2021 Virtual Legislative Conference and Fly-In May 18-19.
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FTA Announces More Than $10 Million for Transit Planning

FTA has announced the availability of more than $10 million in competitive grant funds through a Notice of Funding Opportunity for its Pilot Program for Transit-Oriented Development Planning. The funds are aimed at supporting planning efforts to help connect communities; improve access to transit and affordable housing; and support President Biden’s call to combat climate change, advance environmental justice and promote equitable delivery of benefits to underserved communities.
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APTF Accepting Applications for 2021 Scholarship Program

The American Public Transportation Foundation (APTF) is accepting applications for its 2021 scholarship program. The APTF Board of Directors will award a minimum of 23 scholarships to college students or transit professionals interested in pursuing or advancing their careers in the public transportation industry.
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New CEO Named
Stadtler, VPRA
 
0409-CEO-Ecolane_x125_1878116.jpgThe board of the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) has appointed Donald A. Stadtler, Jr. as its first executive director, charged with providing leadership for all operations, maintenance, capital programs, human resources, administrative and financial operations, while maintaining agency-wide efficiency and safety.
 
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Study Mission Participants Discuss Pandemic-Resilient Recovery Strategies
 
More than 100 attendees joined the APTA virtual study mission to Canada this past week to discuss the future of transit through the lens of COVID-19 recovery.
 
During the three-day program, organized in partnership with CUTA, North American public transit agencies and business members explored how their peers in Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Calgary, Niagara, Winnipeg and Belleville are embracing innovation and are developing best practices to recover from, adapt to and build resilience to pandemic-related trends.
 
“Something that has been impressed upon me these past few days, is this tremendous drive to reinvent ourselves as an industry. Everyone is thinking about how we provide riders an even better mobility experience as they return or continue to use our service,” said APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas.
 
As Marco D’Angelo, president and CEO of CUTA, stated in his closing remarks, “There is much to be hopeful for as we hear about robust infrastructure investment plans, how our agencies are reinventing the customer experience and preparing for a return of greater ridership and what innovations are being put in place to create a mobility evolution.”
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Classifieds
See the latest industry employment opportunities, proposals and notices.
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APTA Updates Safety Audit and Peer Review Programs, Webpages

APTA has updated its Safety Management Audit and Peer Review programs submission webpages at www.apta.com/apta-safety-management-audit-programs and www.apta.com/peer-review, respectively.
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In Memoriam
Wachs, UCLA ITS Founder
 
0409-MIlls_x125_1878345.jpgMartin Wachs, distinguished Professor Emeritus, founder of the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies, died April 12 at the age of 79.
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Register for Energy Efficiency Forum

Every year, the Alliance to Save Energy’s EE Global Forum brings together world leaders in energy efficiency to discuss pressing industry issues, identify emerging trends and connect with peers from dozens of countries around the globe. This year’s virtual event takes place May 4.
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Highlights from this Issue of Passenger Transport
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