PT Express 01-15-2021
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January 15, 2021 | An APTA Publication
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Biden’s COVID-19 Package Provides Critical Emergency Funding for Public Transportation
APTA, on behalf of the entire public transportation industry, applauded the incoming Biden Administration for recognizing the critical needs of the industry, in a statement Jan. 14. The proposed $20 billion emergency transit funding included in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan would help prevent massive labor cuts and drastic service reductions.
"Public transportation has served an essential role during the pandemic. Despite tremendous challenges, public transit systems continue to provide millions of Americans the ability to get to work, school, grocery stores and healthcare appointments every day.
Investment in public transit is a bipartisan issue, and APTA will continue to work with Democrats and Republicans alike in Congress to build a public transportation infrastructure that helps communities and the country recover from the severe economic fallout of the pandemic."
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Public Transit Systems to Receive $14 Billion COVID-19 Support
A total of $14 billion in Federal funding allocations will help continue to support public transportation systems during the COVID-19 public health emergency, announces FTA. Funding is provided through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 (CRRSAA) (H.R. 133). FTA previously announced $25 billion in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding in April 2020.
FTA is allocating the $14 billion to recipients of urbanized area and rural area formula funds, including large and small urban areas, rural areas and tribes and for enhanced mobility of seniors and individuals with disabilities. Similar to the CARES Act, the supplemental funding will be provided at 100-percent federal share, with no local match required.
“We know that many of our nation’s public transportation systems continue to face challenges due to COVID-19, and these supplemental funds will help ensure that safe transit services remain available for riders traveling to jobs, healthcare and other essential services in communities across America,” said FTA Deputy Administrator K. Jane Williams.
CRRSAA directs recipients to prioritize payroll and operational needs. Funding will also support expenses traditionally eligible under the relevant program. View Frequently Asked Questions on the FTA website.
“This additional $14 billion in transit infrastructure grants will help ensure our nation’s public transportation systems can continue to serve the millions of Americans who depend on them,” said then USDOT Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
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FTA Announces $1.6 Billion in CIG Grants for Public Transit Agencies
FTA has announced more than $1.6 billion in Capital Investment Grant (CIG) agreements for public transit agencies across the country over the past 10 days. This brings total funding commitments to $10.7 billion for 41 new CIG projects under this Administration since January 2017. Recent agreements include:
FTA’s CIG program provides funding for major transit infrastructure projects nationwide. Projects accepted into the program must go through a multi-year, multi-step process to be eligible for consideration.
APTA tracks projects participating in the CIG program and the specific project allocations provided by FTA. APTA’s CIG Project Pipeline Dashboard presents each project in the CIG pipeline and its status, including projects with executed full funding grant agreements that require allocations. This important advocacy tool shows, collectively, how much funding remains unallocated by project type and the unmet need that remains for current pipeline projects. Access APTA’s CIG Project Pipeline Dashboard here.
In addition, FTA announced the allocation of $100 million through its Expedited Project Delivery (EPD) Pilot Program to the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), San Jose, CA, for the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Silicon Valley Phase II Project. VTA was the first public transit agency in the nation to submit an application for $1.735 billion through the EPD. This $100 million is the second funding allocation from the program to date for the BART Phase II Project, with the first $125 million received in August 2019.
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Pierce Transit CEO Dreier Announces Retirement
SueDreier_small_1796666.jpgSue Dreier, CEO of Pierce Transit, Lakewood, WA, is to retire this summer after 30 years in the public transit industry. Dreier has served as CEO since May 2015. Under her leadership, Pierce Transit redesigned its entire bus route, adding 16 percent more service—the largest single service enhancement in the agency’s history.
Before moving to Pierce Transit, Dreier served as chief operating officer at Salem-Keizer Transit, Salem, OR. Prior to that, she worked at Lane Transit District, Eugene, OR, where she began her career as a bus driver, ending her tenure there as transit services manager.
For APTA, Dreier serves on the Board of Directors and is a member of the Public Transportation CEO Coordinating Council and Bus & Paratransit CEOs, Legislative and Bus Operations committees, among others. She was a member of the Leadership APTA Class of 2014.
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Upcoming APTA Virtual Events
Business Members Annual Meeting
Feb. 3-5
APTA's business members are invited to join a robust discussion of critical issues shaping the industry's private sector during this time of rapid and transformative change. In addition to education sessions, open discussions and virtual networking, this will be an engaging opportunity to usher in the new year. Learn more and register.
Marketing and Communications Workshop
Feb. 24-25
This intensive and interactive workshop focuses on all aspects of public transportation marketing and communications, including media relations, customer service, social media, ridership initiatives and best practices. Learn more and register.
Upcoming Webinars
System Safety Program Element Requirement – Safety Certification
Jan. 19
2:00-3:30 p.m. Eastern
Under 49 CFR part 270, FRA requires each passenger rail operation to set forth a statement in its System Safety Program plan that describes the certification process used to help ensure that safety concerns and hazards are adequately addressed before the initiation of operations or major projects to extend, rehabilitate or modify an existing system or replace vehicles and equipment. This webinar uses seasoned practitioners and senior leadership perspectives to introduce to commuter rail operations, administrative and safety professionals the processes, impacts and benefits of conducting a risk-based Safety and Security Certification. Register here.
FutureView Series
A Look at the Year Ahead: Biggest Questions for Transit in 2021
Jan. 21
3:00-4:15 p.m. Eastern
The year 2020 was unlike any other. The COVID-19 pandemic forced public transit agencies to respond to sudden shifts in commuting patterns, health risks, and internal finances – with little time to shape their strategies. Looking ahead, many urgent questions remain: Will passengers take certain types of trips more or less often post-pandemic? What service adjustments can help agencies meet workforce and social equity goals? How can agencies stabilize their finances? What should be expected from the new Congress and Administration? How will our industry navigate through the various electrification innovations? Join APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas and APTA staff in a discussion about these questions; learn more and register here. The APTAU FutureView webinar series is presented by AECOM.
Update on FTA Transit Automation Research Initiatives
Jan. 26
2:00-3:30 p.m. Eastern
Many federal autonomous vehicle pilot related grants have been awarded to different agencies and institutions nationwide. In this webinar, FTA will discuss the status of these projects and agencies and institutions will share how they are pursuing their accessible, autonomous vehicle pilots. Register here.
Use of Autonomous Buses on Connecticut's CTfastrak BRT
Jan. 28
3:00-3:45 p.m. Eastern
Connecticut DOT (CTDOT) is preparing to launch the first pilot of full-sized, autonomous buses in the U.S. In early 2023, CTDOT will deploy four autonomous and electric buses on CTfastrak, a 9.4-mile BRT line linking Hartford and New Britain. Visionaries behind the project will describe projected passenger benefits from autonomous bus service, including more consistent acceleration, deceleration and headways, as well as smoother docking at stops. CTDOT also expects to reduce costs through vehicle platooning and lower maintenance expenses. Register here.
Missed APTA's 2020 TRANScend: Critical Conversations for the Year Ahead virtual event? You can now purchase and rewind the conference and view more than 10 hours of content, featuring industry thought-leaders and a discussion of the long-term impacts of COVID-19, bringing riders back, putting equity at the forefront, the changing landscape of cities, policing in a new era and much more. Learn more.
View all APTAtech Conference sessions and earn continuing education credits (CEUs) with REWIND. APTAtech delivered 16 sessions, with five of which approved for planning or engineering CEUs. The event explored how the public can use innovative technologies to better navigate transit, including emerging technologies in fare payment, connected and autonomous vehicles, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, Mobility-as-a-Service, the Internet of Things and big data. Learn more.
Purchase access to on-demand content from APTA's 2020 Mobility & Rail NOW! virtual event and gain the inside track on the latest insights, trends and best practices impacting mobility and rail. This two-day event delivered 24 sessions; nine of which are approved for planning, procurement or engineering continuing education credits. The event also featured sessions on the “Future of Transit,” including what public transit will look like in the post-pandemic world. Learn more.
APTA’s 2020 Sustainability & Multimodal Planning Workshop delivered techniques that increase efficiency, resiliency and integration. Purchase on-demand content and 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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Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit is to install ultraviolet lights in the air ventilation systems of its rail cars as a measure against coronavirus.
The Chicago Transit Authority is installing face mask dispensers on some buses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Transit agencies get $14 billion in relief, with ridership still down.
Charting a year without a commute for many in the Philadelphia region.
The OMNY contactless payment system is now available on all MTA buses and at subway stations.
Jobs in shipping and e-commerce are booming, but they’re inconveniently located. New transit solutions are helping workers commute.
The MBTA's new Red Line train cars spend their first week on the tracks.
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