ITLC Update
TWC Workforce Development Webinar Series
The Transit Workforce Center has completed its Spring 2022 workforce development webinar series. Introduced by Federal Transit Administration Administrator Nuria Fernandez and attended by over 1000 representatives from transit agencies, unions, government agencies, and other transit stakeholders, these sessions covered:
  • Strategic Workforce Planning: Developing, Supporting, and Strengthening your Incumbent Workforce
  • Recruiting and Developing Today’s Transit Workforce 
  • Fundamentals of Mentoring 
Together, the webinars feature presentations from leaders in the field and accompanying question-and-answer sessions on recruiting, retaining, and developing the transit workforce of today and for the future. Video of each webinar and accompanying presentation slides can be accessed here.
Public Transit
Government Technology – July 7, 2022
In previous years, when gas prices have taken a climb — like the summer of 2008 when average U.S. gas prices topped $4 a gallon — commuters and others often parked their cars and took transit. U.S. transit ridership in the third quarter of 2008 was up 6.5 percent compared to the same quarter the year before; and up 5 percent since the beginning of the year, according to APTA statistics. But for some reason, this phenomenon has not been realized during the current season that has gas prices surpassing $5 a gallon across much of the country.
 Virginia Mercury – July 12, 2022
The ascension of three Henrico County officials to the governing board of the Greater Richmond Transit Company in April marked a new era in Central Virginia’s increasing coordination towards a more functional regional public transportation system. The addition of three men—two White and one Black—from a suburban jurisdiction has also made GRTC’s board even less representative of the riders it serves who skew female, Black and urban. Transit boards that don’t reflect their ridership are not unique to Richmond. That type of inequity repeats itself across the commonwealth and the country, but a state study to be released next month by the Department of Rail and Public Transportation may offer answers on how to repair the disconnect between decision-makers and the experiences of Virginia’s transit riders.
Transit Partners
WPLN – July 7, 2022
The mayor’s budget proposed just under $63 million (for WeGo), and the (Metro) Council wound up taking $1 million away from WeGo to put towards priorities in MNPS, which was needed. While it’s not the end of the world to have a $1 million cut, I would say that it’s indicative and illustrative of the struggles that WeGo has in terms of getting in a reliable funding stream in order to get those more frequent (bus) routes and … even trying to get to a light rail or bus rapid transit.
Greater Greater Washington – July 7, 2022
In October 2020, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Maryland Transit Administration’s (MTA) released the Regional Transit Plan for Central Maryland — a set of goals and initiatives to enhance transit service, boost the economy, and address environmental concerns in Central Maryland over the next 25 years. It should come as no surprise that the first study to emerge from the plan is a set of seven “alternatives” for an “East-West Corridor released early last month,” some of which look an awful lot like the Red Line. Here are those alternatives and a little about what they might mean for the future of Baltimore transit.
New Jersey Monitor – July 8, 2022
In a 36-page complaint filed in federal court, the conductors, fare collectors, and other crew members described encounters with irate passengers who assaulted, insulted, spat at, and threatened them with guns and knives. Incidents detailed occurred since the start of the pandemic and often erupted after train crews acted to enforce the agency’s mask mandate for passengers and other rail rules, according to the complaint. In some cases, the abusive passengers were fare-dodgers who became combative when caught.
The Washington Post – July 9, 2022
The first microgrid to power electric buses will soon make its debut in the Washington region as transit agencies nationwide increasingly look to the sun — rather than diesel — to fuel their fleets. The system will launch in September, powering a growing number of electric buses on Montgomery County’s Ride On transit system. The Silver Spring facility will be the first in the D.C. area to use the microgrid technology and one of the earliest of its kind nationwide.
Health & Safety
Governing – July 11, 2022
Maintaining order is always fraught, but a sense of safety is essential for a healthy public sphere. If the average citizen feels unsafe, they may abandon shared spaces, public amenities and the democratic responsibility to their fellow citizens. But an aggressive police presence will make some riders feel unsafe too. Younger Black and Latino residents are most likely to be profiled, and notably have been much more skeptical of Adams’ law-and-order rhetoric.
Green News
Streetsblog – July 8, 2022
Because of its size and current emissions, the United States has work to do to meet this challenge. It is the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter, contributing 15 percent of global emissions despite having only about 4 percent of its population. And transportation is the largest single emitter, with cars and trucks driven by Americans leading the way. But the US transportation sector isn’t adapting quickly enough to the climate crisis by reducing emissions. A better adaptation strategy will require not only shifting how people move by getting them out of cars and onto bikes and public transportation, but also replacing the vehicle fleet with more efficient automobiles that are less reliant on fossil fuels.
Economic Issues
Eno Center for Transportation – July 6, 2022
The AASHTO Survey of State Funding in Public Transportation, an annual report first published in the mid-1980s, provides a snapshot of state and federal investments in public transportation and highlights how DOTs utilize funding and tax mechanisms to support transit operations and capital projects. Since the mid-1990s, the survey reports that states lead the way on investments in public transportation, exceeding federal formula grant funding. During some years, the difference is marginal but recently, state public transportation funding significantly exceeds federal formula funding. For this year’s survey, this difference is significant. Using FY 2020 financial data, DOTs report approximately $20.9 billion for public transit funding while federal formula funds totaled $10.5 billion. Moreover, despite the pandemic and the significant loss of transit ridership, twenty-five DOTs report increasing public transit funding by a total of just under $1.4 billion in FY 2020 over FY 2019 levels.
Upcoming Webinars
National Skills Coalition – July 21, 11:00 am ET
Despite the urgent need for workers, many businesses are unable to hire individuals seeking work because applicants lack equitable access to necessary workforce education and training. States play an important role in creating inclusive and equitable workforce systems by ensuring all jobseekers can access high quality training, good jobs, and career pathways. To advance equity, workforce systems should examine institutional structures and barriers to participation that contribute to employment and economic disparities. This panel will share what it takes to understand structural and systemic barriers; intentionally engage community partners; center worker and business voices in shaping policies and programs; and align programs and resources that support the whole person in training for and advancing in a career.
International Transportation Learning Center