PT Express 07-22-2022
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July 22, 2022 | An APTA Publication
2022 APTA Transit Initiatives and Communities Workshop
 
Sharing Lessons Learned from Transit Elections
 
More than 100 public transit executives and advocates, public officials, chambers of commerce leaders and campaign professionals convened in Austin, TX, this week for APTA’s biennial Transit Initiatives and Communities Workshop. The event brings together representatives from communities and regions that have been through campaigns with transit elections on the horizon. Lessons are shared on what worked and why, and attendees learn how to be more successful moving forward.
 
“Historic levels of funding provided through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law offers us a unique opportunity,” said APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas at the opening session July 19. “These are once-in-a-generation resources that can change the future for many communities. Keep in mind that much of this federal money is available with a local funding component. A successful ballot measure can help open the door and leverage these new resources.”
 
Dottie Watkins, interim CEO of the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (CapMetro), welcomed attendees to Austin and shared how revenue streams created through the city’s November 2020 ballot measure will make possible the agency’s Project Connect plan and the light rail, BRT and affordable housing projects that will stem from it. Austin Mayor Steve Adler took attendees through the transit campaign and the process undertaken to convey the benefits of transit investment and why it was in the public’s interest to vote "yes." These messages were further reinforced by others from the Austin community, including Greg Canally, acting CEO of Austin Transit Partners.
 
Kate Gallego, mayor of Phoenix, AZ, discussed the importance of public transportation to the residents of Marricopa County and shared how public transportation has been invaluable in her own life. She championed a successful regional transit ballot measure shortly after taking office in 2019.
 
Perspectives on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law were shared by Lynda Tran, USDOT senior advisor to the secretary / director of public engagement. She spoke of available new funding opportunities and the critical importance of combining resources from federal, state and local sources.
 
Workshop sessions explored a mix of themes, including the nuts-and-bolts of campaigns (polling, direct mail, video, digital), coalition building, the role of the transit agency in ballot measures and the importance of pre-campaign activities. At one session, a mix of recent transit campaigns were reviewed in depth, highlighting how they gained voter approval despite the distractions of the pandemic.
 
At the opening reception, July 18, sponsored by HDR, attendees rode electric articulated buses to Austin’s FC Q2 soccer stadium to attend the groundbreaking for CapMetro’s McKalla Station, made possible through the Project Connect ballot measure.
 
Resources for transit campaigns and initiatives are available through APTA’s Center for Transportation Excellence at www.cfte.org.
 
CapMetro's McKalla Station Groundbreaking
Groundbreaking for CapMetro's McKalla Station.
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House Passes Fiscal 2023 Transportation Spending Bill
 
The U.S. House of Representatives passed its fiscal year 2023 bill funding transportation, July 20, which fully funds the public transit authorizations of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The total public transit appropriation exceeds the IIJA’s authorization levels in FY 2023. In addition, the bill appropriates the overwhelming majority of additional passenger rail funding authorized by the IIJA.
 
Specifically, the bill, together with the IIJA’s advance appropriations, provides a total of $21.7 billion for public transit in FY 2023, an increase of $1.2 billion (6 percent) from the FY 2022 enacted level. This total appropriation is $416 million greater than the amount authorized in the IIJA. In addition, it provides $17.1 billion for passenger and freight rail in FY 2023, an increase of $489 million (3 percent) from the FY 2022 enacted level.
 
The bill now moves to the Senate. The Senate Appropriations Committee has announced that it intends to unveil its draft Appropriations bills in the next few weeks.
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APTA, Transit Leaders Discuss Buy America
 
APTA met with USDOT Deputy Secretary Polly Trottenberg, FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez and a small group of public transit leaders July 22 to discuss Buy America implementation.
 
The purpose of the meeting was to hear from transit stakeholders regarding implementation of the Build America, Buy America Act (BABA) requirement that construction materials must be produced in the U.S. In the coming weeks, USDOT is expected to issue a Request for Information regarding specific construction materials.
 
For more information, see APTA’s Fact Sheet on BABA.
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SPONSORED CONTENT
 
Ideanomics WAVE
 
 
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APTA Participates in NTSB Railroad Safety Summit
 
APTA staff and several commuter rail members participated in an invitation-only National NTSB Railroad Safety Summit, July 21, hosted by NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy. Participants discussed current safety priorities, such as grade-crossing and trespassing challenges; PTC implementation, operations and maintenance; Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act safety plan requirements; and ways that NTSB can better support the safety work of the industry through its research, investigation recommendations and Most Wanted List of safety priorities.
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FTA Issues Apportionments, Allocations, Information and Guidance Correction Notice
 
FTA has issued a correction notice updating its Fiscal Year 2022 Apportionments, Allocations, Program Information, and Interim Guidance. The original notice, published April 28, provided information on the FY22 funding available for FTA programs and provided guidance and requirements. The FY 2022 Apportionment Program Correction Notice updates the April notice regarding:
  • Pre-award authority
  • Expenditure deadline for Economic Recovery grants (TIGER), Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) discretionary grants and Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grants
  • Authorized amounts for FY22-26 for Section 5311 Formula Grants for Rural Areas Program
  • Authorized and appropriated amounts for FY22 Rural Transportation Assistance Program funding
Public transit agencies should contact the FTA Office of Program Management at 202-366-2053 with any questions.Public transit agencies should contact the FTA Office of Program Management at 202-366-2053 with any questions.
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Webinars for FTA Ferry Programs Funding Opportunity

FTA is hosting two webinars discussing the nearly $300 million competitive funding opportunity that will help improve and expand ferry service in communities across the U.S. Potential applicants to the FY22 Passenger Ferry Grant Program, and two new ferry programs, the Electric or Low-Emitting Ferry Pilot Program, and the Ferry Service for Rural Communities Program, can attend either webinar. FTA staff will discuss funding amounts, eligibility requirements, the application process and the evaluation criteria. Registration is not needed.
 
July 27, 2:30 p.m. Eastern
 
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Safety Committee Requirement Compliance Date Coming Up
 
Public transit agencies that receive Section 5307 funding and serve a large urbanized area have until July 31 to establish a Safety Committee as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law changes to the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan (PTASP) requirements. This compliance date will not be extended.
 
The Safety Committee must have an equal number of frontline employee and management representatives. In addition, FTA expects the Safety Committee to approve an update to the agency’s Agency Safety Plan, incorporating the applicable PTASP requirements by Dec. 31, 2022.
 
For more information on the requirements, refer to the Dear Colleague Letter or the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Frequently Asked Questions webpage. All FTA Bipartisan Infrastructure Law updates are available on www.transit.dot.gov/BIL. For questions about Bipartisan Infrastructure Law requirements, contact FTA-IIJA@dot.gov.
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FTA Publishes Bus Accident Investigations Report
 
FTA has published the Transit Bus Accident Investigations—Background Research Report, which supports FTA’s Effective Practices in Transit Bus Accident Investigations Report. The background research focuses on the Safety Management Systems approach and can help guide public transit agency decision-making and support accident investigation procedure modification.
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UPCOMING APTA EVENTS
 
Summertime isn't slowing down progress in the public transportation industry. Keep up to speed with APTA's summer schedule of impactful, in-person events. Then, get ready for TRANSform, the biggest public transit event of the year!
 
Transit Board Members & Board Administrators Seminars
Jul. 30-Aug. 2
Explore national and regional legislative issues, advocacy, ridership, transit-oriented communities, workforce development, safety and security, fare policies and more.
 
Sustainability/Operations Planning and Scheduling Workshop
Aug. 7-10
Learn techniques from industry thought-leaders on how to enhance energy efficiency, resiliency and service integration.
 
APTAtech
Aug. 14-17
Explore information technology, fare payment systems, cybersecurity and real-time open data solutions for public transportation.
 
State Public Transportation Partnerships Conference
Aug. 27-30
Redefining our communities' experiences from our shared successes, lessons, trials and tribulations will make us stronger than before.  
 
TRANSform Conference
Oct. 9-12
APTA's TRANSform Conference, the biggest industry event of the year. Engage in workshops, experience technical tours and network with colleagues.
 
Jan. 24-27
Registration is now open for APTA’s Business Members Annual Meeting in Honolulu, HI.
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ELSEWHERE IN THE MEDIA
 
How transit agencies are engaging the professionals of tomorrow.
 
Electric buses to tap solar power using new method for D.C. region.
 
Advocates say transit-oriented development is misunderstood.
 
Part of Grand Rapids bus station could be turned into childcare center.
 
Bus driver charts a path for kindness.
 
Pac-Man the hawk is a Bay Area public transit legend.
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