PT 03-13-23
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March 13, 2023 | An APTA Publication
APTA 2023 Legislative Conference
Welcome to APTA’s 2023 Legislative Conference!
As APTA welcomes attendees to its 2023 Legislative Conference in Washington, DC, three leaders share with Passenger Transport their thoughts on public transit funding, safety, equity, reaching across the aisle and more!
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President’s Budget Request Includes Critical Investments in Public Transportation
President Biden released his FY24 budget request, outlining his Administration’s priorities March 9. When combined with the advance appropriations included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the President requests $21.3 billion for public transit and $18 billion for passenger and freight rail in FY24.
In response, APTA released a statement applauding the Administration’s historic investments in public transportation and called on Congress “to harness the potential of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law by fully funding public transportation in the FY24 THUD Appropriations bill.” APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas said, “Strong public transportation grows the economy by connecting people to jobs, education, healthcare, businesses and opportunities. Investing fully in public transportation will benefit all Americans.”
The budget request includes a $356 million increase in public transit formula funds. Together with IIJA funding, the budget provides $4.5 billion for Capital Investment Grants in FY24 for dozens of critical public transit investments. It also includes an additional $1.4 billion for passenger rail, including significant increased investment in Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Grants and Railroad Crossing Elimination Grants.
APTA is urging Congress to provide at least $21.6 billion for public transit and $20.2 billion for passenger rail in the FY24 THUD Appropriations bill (when combined with the advance appropriations of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law).
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FTA Recommends Advancing 18 Major Transit Projects
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg recommended 18 large rail and BRT projects in 11 states to receive $4.45 billion for construction projects in President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Request to Congress. Nine of the projects would receive funding recommendations for the first time. Others on the list are already under construction or far along in the planning process. In addition to recommendations for FY24 funding, FTA has allocated $1.1 billion in FY22 and 23 funding to 31 transit projects across the U.S.
“Transit connects people to jobs, schools, loved ones and more,” said Buttigieg. “We’re proud to deliver this funding to expand transit across the country, which will create good-paying construction jobs and provide better options for people to get where they need to go.”
The Fiscal Year 2024 Annual Report on Funding Recommendations accompanies President Biden’s FY24 Budget Request. The projects, which require a local funding match, seek funding through the FTA Capital Investment Grants and Expedited Project Delivery Pilot programs. The report allocates $2.85 billion in annual appropriations requested from Congress and $1.6 billion in FY24 funding provided through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
“Transit is a great equalizer for our nation,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. “For the men and women who will use these systems, this investment will open doors to opportunities they may otherwise never have had. For the communities where they’ll be built, every dollar we provide will result in five dollars, or even more, of economic growth.”
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Matt Tucker and Leslie Richards
Harnessing the Potential of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
Thanks to all of you, we have made great progress in successfully implementing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and putting these historic investments to work, improving the lives of people in our communities all across the nation. But there is more work to do. For 2023, APTA is focused on three major legislative and advocacy initiatives:
  • Aggressively advocating for public transportation investments in the Fiscal Year 2024 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill
  • Actively working to ensure successful implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, commonly referred to as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the Inflation Reduction Act
  • Carrying out a holistic advocacy outreach effort to every new and returning Member of Congress
In addition, at APTA’s Legislative Conference, we will be discussing possible local, state and federal solutions to the operating budget shortfalls, commonly referred to as the Fiscal Cliff, that many public transit agencies face in 2024 or subsequent years.
North County Transit District
Oceanside, CA
Chair, APTA Legislative Committee
General Manager and CEO
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority
Vice Chair, APTA Legislative Committee
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APTA Chair Dorval R. Carter Jr. (left photo) and APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas (right photo).
APTA Chair, President Address UIC World Congress in Morocco
APTA Chair Dorval R. Carter Jr., president, Chicago Transit Authority, and APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas spoke at the World Congress on High-Speed Rail, organized by the International Union of Railways (UIC), last week in Marrakech March 7-10. The event brought together more than 1,000 practitioners from around the word representing high-speed rail operations to share perspectives on trends and new practices.
Carter participated in the “High-Speed Rail as a Tool for Sustainable Mobility” panel. He noted that his home city of Chicago has long served as a railroad center for the American Midwest and will be the hub for high-performance passenger rail operations linking Chicago with St. Louis, Kansas City, Minneapolis and more. His remarks focused on how to embrace sustainability as part of a strategy for successful rail networks.
Other topics discussed included how investment in high-speed rail and public transportation enables the public to choose a sound environmental option. The U.S. has multiple corridors with ideal proximity for high-speed rail service. The Northeast Corridor is the lifeblood of the megaregion linking Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston. It is one of the most economically prosperous regions in North America, and it likely would not enjoy that standing without the connectivity the Northeast Corridor provides.
Corridors ripe for high-speed rail include Los Angeles to San Francisco, Atlanta to Washington, Houston to Dallas, Chicago to St Louis, Portland to Seattle to Vancouver, Miami to Orlando, Los Angeles to Las Vegas.
Skoutelas was part of a roundtable discussion, “The Right Environmental Speed.” He began by expressing his appreciation for the strong partnership APTA enjoys with the UIC and expressed gratitude to UIC for sharing success stories with the U.S. as it works to develop its own passenger rail network.
His remarks touched on high-performance intercity passenger rail and a federal commitment of $102 billion for investment in the passenger and freight rail network over the next five years, which is aimed at increasing the speed and reliability of the passenger rail network, as well as extending it.
Skoutelas also echoed Carter’s sentiment that the U.S. is committed to sustainable practices. Extreme weather incidents occurring at an increasing rate mean transit and rail equipment and facilities must be planned, designed and built to withstand such occurrences.
AMTRAK CEO Stephen Gardner spoke throughout the event, and FRA was represented by Barbara Klein Barr, regional chair, and Fred Mottley, HSR program manager, office of railroad safety.
Morocco’s high-speed rail system, Al Boraq, began service in 2018 linking Casablanca, the Capital city of Rabat and Tangiers. It was the first service of its kind on the African continent, and part of a national strategy to modernize and become a leader in technology. high-speed rail service will eventually extend to other cities, including Marrakech and Fez.
The World Congress on High-Speed Rail is held every two years. The next event, in 2025, is in Beijing.
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Siemens Announces $220 Million Investment in New Plant
Siemens announced a $220 million investment in a new East Coast rail manufacturing hub in Lexington, NC, in a media call with Mitch Landrieu, senior advisor to the President and White House Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator; FRA Administrator Amit Bose and NC Gov. Roy Cooper March 7. Siemens will be creating 500 new jobs at the plant through 2028.
“President Biden committed to investing in America and rebuilding our economy from the bottom up and middle out, and it’s working,” said Landrieu. “Today’s announcement from Siemens is further proof that when the public and private sector work together, we can build a better America, powered by world-class, sustainable transit and rail that makes it easier for families to see their loved ones, domestic manufacturing that strengthens our global competitiveness, and good-paying jobs for all.”
“After four decades of manufacturing trains in America and on behalf of all 4,000 Siemens Mobility employees in the U.S., we are excited to announce that we will expand to our new east coast hometown in Lexington, North Carolina,” said Marc Buncher, CEO of Siemens Mobility North America. “Now is the moment in time for rail in America, and this facility supports our strategy to grow in close proximity to our customers as well as provide us with the added capacity needed to push the boundaries of innovation.”
The factory will include some of the latest technologies Siemens is already employing at its Sacramento, CA, plant, including robotic welding, 3D printing and virtual reality weld training. When fully operational, the facility will also be carbon neutral. The addition of a new hub on the East Coast will establish a bicoastal, “Made in America” rail manufacturing footprint for Siemens. To date, the Sacramento plant has built 3,000 rail vehicles with the support of 2,000 U.S. suppliers across 40 states.
Leading global companies like Siemens Mobility continue to choose North Carolina to build the next generation in innovative clean transportation,” said Gov. Cooper. “Thanks to our state’s skilled workforce, and the proven education and training systems that help people maintain and build those skills, North Carolina is the number-one state for manufacturing.”
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APTA 2023 Mobility Conference
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APTA Fact Book
Resources and Tools for APTA Members
APTA has created a number of resources and tools for its members to help them advocate for increased investment in public transportation and passenger rail. They will be available in the Advocacy Resource Center at APTA’s Legislative Conference and can also be found at
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Advocating for Women’s Safety and Wellbeing at All Levels of Transportation
Jill SnyderAs we celebrate Women’s History Month (March) and shine a light on the powerful female leaders and impactful work that came before us, we must acknowledge the work ahead to make our industry safer and more welcoming for the female workers of today and leaders of tomorrow. There are common challenges across the ­industry that impact workers’ daily responsibilities, but for women, those challenges are often more acute. A lack of safety ­acknowledgment and gender diversity barriers are ­ongoing issues that plague women operators across the country, in all transportation fields. Addressing safety issues is critical to ensure women feel comfortable in their workplace, which in return will boost representation and open the door for new and diverse perspectives in leadership.
Compliance and Safety Director
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APTA AdWheel
APTA Announces AdWheel First-Place Winners
APTA honored the First-Place winners of its 2023 AdWheel Awards at the APTA Marketing & Communications Workshop in Las Vegas Feb. 26-March 1. AdWheel recognizes the strategic importance of marketing and communications initiatives that advance the organizational goals of APTA members. Top First-Place winners will face a final round of judging to determine the Grand Awards, which will be presented at APTA’s TRANSform Conference and APTA EXPO®, Oct. 8-11 in Orlando, FL.
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SEPTA Trolley
SEPTA to Replace Entire Trolley Fleet
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) is purchasing modern, fully ADA-compliant trolley vehicles to replace its entire fleet of aging trolleys. This represents a major step forward for Trolley Modernization, SEPTA’s program to transform the nation’s largest trolley network into an accessible, fast and easy-to-use system.
Public Information Manager
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Houston Metro Dept. Labor
Houston METRO Hosts U.S. Labor Secretary
The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (Houston METRO), along with labor leaders from the Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO and Transport Workers Union Local 260, welcomed U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, Deputy Secretary Julie Su and White House National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi to the agency’s Kashmere Bus Operations Facility recently.
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NFTA Freedom Wall
NFTA, Sen. Kennedy Celebrate Freedom Wall Updates
Officials from the Niagara Falls Transit Authority (NFTA), Buffalo, NY, along with Senator Tim Kennedy (D-NY) joined the community recently to announce the completion of the beautification project for the Buffalo Freedom Wall.
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King County Flex
King County Metro Launches Metro Flex
King County Metro, Seattle, WA, has launched Metro Flex, an on-demand neighborhood public transit service powered by Via that unites three current services: Community Ride, Ride Pingo to Transit and Via to Transit.
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New CEOs Named
Michelle Allison, King County Metro
Michelle AllisonKing County Metro, Seattle, WA, has named Michelle Allison as its new general manager. Allison was previously deputy general manager and now becomes only the second woman to lead the agency. She succeeds Terry White, who retired in December 2022. Allison joined King County 13 years ago and Metro six years ago, where she has overseen the bus operations, facilities, vehicle maintenance, marine and rail divisions. During her tenure in the Metro general manager’s office, she worked to embed equity and sustainability into the agency’s long-term service and vision documents.
Lona Edwards Hankins, New Orleans RTA
Lona Edwards HankinsThe New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) has announced the appointment of Lona Edwards Hankins as its permanent chief executive officer. She has served as interim CEO since December 2022, following the retirement of Alex Z. Wiggins. Edwards Hankins joined RTA in 2019 as the agency’s chief of infrastructure and long-term planning. In that position, she oversaw the development and execution of capital assets and the implementation of infrastructure improvement projects across operations and administration.
Greg Canally, Austin Transit Partnership
Greg CanallyThe Austin Transit Partnership (ATP), TX, has appointed Greg Canally as its executive director. Canally has served in the role in an interim capacity since May 2022. Before that, he was chief financial officer / chief development officer. Prior to ATP, Canally served in various financial leadership positions for the City of Austin. Before that, he was a project manager for HDR. ATP’s charge is to deliver on voters’ transit vision in a way that embeds equity, sustainability and transparency as overarching priorities.
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2023 APTA Events
Legislative Conference
March 12-14, Washington, DC
High-Speed Rail Seminar
March 15-16, Washington, DC
(Register here)
Legal Affairs Seminar
April 2-4, Portland, OR
Mobility Conference
Presented by HNTB
April 23-26, Minneapolis, MN
Transit CEOs Seminar
May 19-21, Houston, TX
Rail Conference
June 11-14, Pittsburgh, PA
Passenger Rail Engineering
Education Symposium (p-REES)
July 11-13
Washington, DC
Transit Board Members
& Board Administrators Seminar
July 15-18, Birmingham, AL
July 30-Aug. 2, Anaheim, CA
Sustainability / Operations Planning
and Scheduling Workshop
July 30-Aug. 2, Anaheim, CA
Study Mission to Australia,
New Zealand
Aug. 7-18
Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Auckland
TRANSform Conference & EXPO
Presented by HNTB
Oct. 8-11, Orlando, FL
(Learn more)
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Passenger Transport Wishes to Thank its Advertisers
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