PT Express 11-3-2023
Passenger Transport Header
November 3, 2023 | An APTA Publication
Senate Passes Transportation Appropriations Bill; APTA Strongly Urges Opposition to Perry Amendments in House Transportation Bill
The U.S. Senate voted to pass the first three of its fiscal 2024 appropriations bills in a “minibus” that includes the Transportation (THUD) Appropriations bill Nov. 1. The House of Representatives announced Nov. 2 that it will delay consideration of its THUD bill until next week.
APTA strongly encourages its members to urge their Representatives to oppose the Perry Amendments to the House THUD bill. These amendments eliminate funding for Capital Investment Grants, Transit Infrastructure Grants, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, the Electric and Low-Emitting Ferry Pilot Program and Transit-Oriented Development.
Congress has until Nov. 17 to agree on funding to avert a partial government shutdown. It is likely that it will have to pass a Continuing Resolution.
In a statement released Nov. 1, APTA applauded Senate Appropriations Committee leaders Patty Murray (D-WA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) for their commitment to fully fund the historic public transportation investments of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in S. 2437, the FY2024 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations Act.
“The bipartisan effort in the Senate provides the overwhelming majority of the authorized public transit and passenger rail funding, including $21.1 billion for public transit (with more than $4 billion for Capital Investment Grants (CIG)) and $16.7 billion for passenger and freight rail,” the statement noted. “However, the U.S. House of Representatives’ THUD Appropriations bill cuts public transit investment by $2.3 billion, slashing CIG funding to the lowest level in at least two decades. These cuts would cost America more than 100,000 jobs. We urge the House of Representatives to similarly honor the commitment of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and fully fund public transportation investments in the FY 2024 THUD appropriations bill.”
WMATA Eisenhower Ribbon Cutting
APTA Webinar on Election Outcomes
APTA is hosting its 2022 Election Outcomes: Public Transportation Impacts at the State and Local Levels webinar Nov. 9, 3:00–4:00 p.m. Eastern.
This year has featured numerous actions in state legislatures and at the ballot box that will support the ongoing vitality of public transportation. Webinar speakers will provide updates on several of the significant actions, will review factors that have helped lead to success and will identify tools and resources available to communicate transit’s message in the years ahead.
APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas moderates the webinar and APTA Chair Michele Wong Krause, past chair, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, will provide remarks. Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, St. Cloud Metropolitan Transit Commission and APTA’s Center for Transportation Excellence will present. The webinar will include an audience Q&A.
APTA Announces 2023 Commuter Rail CEO Workshop
APTA’s 2023 Commuter Rail CEO Workshop, Dec. 6–7 in Washington, DC, will bring together commuter rail CEOs and representatives from FRA, the Surface Transportation Board and key congressional committees to explore topical issues.
Attending commuter rail CEOs will have an opportunity to engage in group discussions on a wide variety of topics that address shared challenges facing commuter rail service in the U.S.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer Will Not Seek Reelection
Rep. Earl BlumenauerRep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) has announced that he will not seek reelection in 2024. Blumenauer leaves a lasting impact on public transit in the U.S.
“APTA has learned that Rep. Earl Blumenauer will not seek reelection to represent Oregon’s 3rd congressional district in 2024,” said President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas. “Rep. Blumenauer has played an indispensable role in advocating for public transit, passenger rail and multimodal infrastructure over a remarkable 50 years of public service, including 27 years in Congress. He has been a tireless advocate for rebuilding and renewing our nation’s infrastructure, especially access to affordable and reliable public transportation, and was instrumental in securing once-in-a-generation investments in public transportation in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law."
Skoutelas continues: “Blumenauer’s commitment to the public transportation industry has been unwavering and he has stood with us through thick and thin. He truly represents the best of Congress, and the industry would not be where it is today without his tremendous efforts.”
APTA’s The Transit Authority
A Conversation with Kevin Quinn, CEO, TransLink
In the latest episode of APTA’s official podcast, The Transit Authority, TransLink’s Kevin Quinn discusses ridership, land use, affordability and climate action. The Vancouver, Canada, region stands out as a model for transit-supportive land use, transit ridership per-capita, and an exemplary commitment to sustainability practices. Quinn outlines the ways public transportation is the backbone of mobility in the Vancouver region and how transit has a central role in fulfilling broader regional goals and priorities. Access all episodes of The Transit Authority.
In Memoriam
Mort Downey
Mort DowneyLongtime transportation and finance expert Mortimer Leo Downey III died Nov. 2. He was 87. Downey served as U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation from 1993 to 2001, making him the longest-serving person to hold the post. Prior to that, he was executive director and chief financial officer for the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, where he was instrumental in creating and orchestrating a complex multi-agency capital plan and subsequent updates.
APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas described Downey’s impact on the transportation industry as far reaching. “Mort was a highly respected expert in his field who was known for his leadership and mentoring skills. He was a tireless champion, leader and friend. We will miss him.”
From 1977 to 1981, Downey served USDOT as assistant secretary for budget and programs. Prior to that, he was the first transportation program analyst for the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on the Budget. He held various positions at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, including assistant executive director, deputy executive director, chief financial officer and executive director.
He was principal consultant and chairman of PB Consult Inc. and a senior advisor with Parsons Brinckerhoff, before establishing his practice, Mort Downey Consulting LLC, in 2005.
Downey was a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. He also served on the Mineta Transportation Institute Board of Trustees. Downey received APTA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000. He had been a member of APTA’s Authorization Task Force and had served on the High-Speed & Intercity Passenger Rail; Legislative; Innovative Funding, Finance and P3; Transit Board Members and Business Member Small Business committees; among others.
Clinton B. Forbes
Clinton B. ForbesClinton B. Forbes, executive director, Palm Tran, West Palm Beach, FL, died Nov. 2. He was 55.
Forbes had served as Palm Tran’s executive director since November 2015. Before that, he spent 25 years in senior leadership levels at the Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization and three transit properties: Miami-Dade Transit, the Jacksonville Transportation Authority and the Central Ohio Transit Authority.
Under his leadership, Palm Tran opened a $25 million new, LEED certified, administrative headquarters in Delray and implemented a new mobility on-demand service known as Go Glades.
“Clinton was actively engaged in APTA for many years and recently served as chair of the Florida Public Transportation Association. We will miss his industry leadership and friendship,” said APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas.
Forbes won COMTO’s Corporate Executive of the Year award in 2021 and, under his leadership, Palm Tran won APTA’s Bus Safety and Security Gold Award in 2020. Forbes was a member of APTA’s Public Transportation CEO Coordinating Council and served on the Bus & Paratransit CEOs, Mid-Size Operations and Bus Operations committees.
WMATA Eisenhower Ribbon Cutting
WMATA Opens New Integrated Command and Communications Center
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA / Metro) has opened its new nerve center, the Integrated Command and Communications Center (MICC), located near the agency’s Eisenhower Ave. station. Metro General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Randy Clarke; Board Chair Paul C. Smedberg; Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA); Alexandria, VA, Mayor Justin Wilson; Department of Rail and Public Transportation Director Jennifer DeBruhl and other Virginia officials took part in a recent ribbon cutting.
“The MICC is a world class control center that brings our rail, bus, security and maintenance operations together in one place for the first time and our customer communications teams,” said Clarke. “Instead of managing service from separate control centers, we can coordinate together in real-time, working as a unified team to provide customers with clear, consistent messaging.”
Metro selected an existing underutilized property in an area of Alexandria that has seen dramatic growth in the past several years, including commercial and residential development. The new, 14-story, building will support more than 1,400 agency employees.
“Metro’s decision to consolidate workspaces demonstrates fiscal responsibility, and I’m glad that Metro went forward with this plan thoughtfully, by selecting an existing underutilized property and by seeking a LEED Gold accreditation status. I look forward to seeing the growth that takes place around this new facility,” said Rep. Beyer.
“Metro is a key partner throughout the region, and we are proud they will call Alexandria home,” said Mayor Wilson. “The hundreds of employees who will be here will find the Eisenhower Corridor is a great area where they can work, live and play.”
2024 AdWheel
APTA AdWheel Submission Deadline Approaching!
The deadline to submit entries to APTA’s 2024 AdWheel Awards is Nov. 13. AdWheel recognizes APTA members’ top marketing and communications initiatives that advance the strategic interests of public transportation organizations.
First Place winners will be notified late-December and honored at the 2024 APTA Marketing & Communications Workshop Feb. 11-14 in New Orleans, LA. Grand Award winners will be notified mid-summer 2024 and honored at APTA’s TRANSform Conference Sept. 29-Oct. 2 in Anaheim, CA. Awards will be given in three categories:
  • Best Workforce Development
  • Best Efforts to Increase Ridership or Sales
  • Best Educational Initiative (Includes highlighting funding needs and all other non-workforce or ridership objectives)
FTA TAM Program Announces 2024 Peer Exchange and Working Group
FTA’s Transit Asset Management (TAM) Program is providing two opportunities for public transit agency staff to engage with peers and share strategies and best practices about asset management, including a working group on asset condition and a peer exchange for best practices in aligning asset management activities with other FTA requirements.
2024 TAM Peer Working Group Call for Participation
FTA is continuing the success of the 2023 TAM peer working group with a new opportunity for 2024. The group will convene 11-15 participants in an online forum to discuss strategies for determining asset condition. The group will meet regularly for one year, focusing on various aspects of strategies for condition assessment. Applicants for the working group should submit this form by Nov. 16.
Winter 2024 Peer Exchange Call for Participation
In February 2024, the FTA TAM Program will host an in-person peer exchange to discuss how agencies approach aligning their TAM activities with other related FTA requirements such as NTD reporting, developing Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans (PTASPs) and preparing for comprehensive reviews.
Through this peer exchange, participants will share successes and challenges to gain best practices to make reporting processes less burdensome. The one-and-a-half-day in-person discussion will be hosted at a transit agency and include a tour of the agency’s facilities. Applicants for the peer exchange should submit this form by Nov. 16.
For questions about either opportunity or FTA’s TAM Peer Program, contact Tamalynn Kennedy.
Why NJ TRANSIT bus ridership bounced back post-COVID better than train use.
‘HART for All’ campaign targets riders with special needs.
Buried train tracks once linking San Francisco with San Jose may find new life.