Posts Tagged ‘American Public Transportation Association’

House Passes INVEST Act

July 6, 2021

The U.S. House of Representatives approved last week a five year $715 billion surface transportation bill.

Known as Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act,, the legislation would authorize  $95 billion for passenger and freight rail, including $32 billion for Amtrak that could be used to pay for existing and new service.

The Association of American Railroads panned the bill, calling it filled with “misguided, divisive policies.”

AAR instead issued a statement lauding a bi-partisan proposal being considered in the Senate.

The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association in a statement said the House bill contains some beneficial provisions for short lines but also contained some “troubling provisions.”

The American Public Transportation Association was more enthusiastic about the INVEST legislation, noting that it authorizes $109 billion for public transportation, which would enable transit systems to begin to address a $105 billion state-of-good-repair backlog as well as provide funding for capital funding for new projects.

Transit Agencies Seeking $39.3B in Aid

January 29, 2021

Public transit agencies in the United States face a projected $39.3 billion shortfall through 2023 due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic a study has concluded.

The study by EBP US was done on behalf of the American Public Transportation Association.

It said the shortfall is occurring due to the loss of ridership, fare revenue, and income from state and local taxes.

To some degree the effects of the pandemic have been mitigated by two allotments by Congress of emergency pandemic relief funding last year.

APTA now wants Congress and President Joseph Biden to provide $39.3 billion more in pandemic aid.

Without that aid APTA said many transit agencies will be forced to cut service and lay off or furlough workers.

APTA officials noted that four in 10 transit agencies are looking at service cuts to close budget gaps.

The trade group said public transit is needed to enable some essential workers to get to their jobs.

“The pandemic represents an existential threat to public transit jobs, businesses and service,” said APTA President Paul Skoutelas.

“Our request for $39.3 billion is necessary to avoid catastrophic decisions that will hurt our riders, our communities and the nation.”

Additional Pandic Aid Proposed for Public Transit

January 16, 2021

President-elect Joseph Biden has proposed giving $20 billion in emergency funding to the nation’s hardest hit public transit agencies.

The funding is part of a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 pandemic relief plan that he outlined this week.

The proposal must be approved by Congress. Plan documents said the transit aid is intended to prevent further worker layoffs and route cuts.

News reports indicate that Biden intends for the plan to be passed fairly quickly and then he will propose a broader recovery package for the pandemic-battered economy.

In a statement, American Public Transportation Association CEO Paul P. Skoutelas said additional emergency funding “is vital to the industry’s survival and will help prevent massive labor cuts and drastic service reductions.”

Transportation Trade Groups Seek Priority in COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

December 18, 2020

Trade groups representing railroad workers, public transit agencies and companies that supply the railroad industry are trying to pressure government officials to give some of their workers priority in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine that is now being distributed.

Among those writing letters to federal and state officials have been the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, the Association of American Railroads, the American Public Transportation Association and the Railway Supply Institute.

Trade groups representing various other modes of transportation have also sought priority for their workers.

The groups are citing  a guideline of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices that essential workers, including those in transportation, be included in the second priority group or Phase 1b of the vaccine distribution.

Highest priority (Phase 1a) is being given to health care workers and others such as those working in nursing homes.

Some of the letters being written by the transportation trade associations have been sent senators on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Transportation and Safety Subcommittee to request “timely access” to the vaccine.

APTA has written to all state governors “urging them to consider prioritizing transit workers as they develop their vaccination distribution plans.”

In its statement, RSI said those working for railway suppliers should be among the early recipient groups vaccine because of their supporting role for passenger and freight railroads “as they deliver people, food, fuel, medicine, and other supplies that have sustained our nation’s pandemic response and economic recovery.”

APTA Providing Transit Ridership Estimates

December 9, 2020

The American Public Transportation Association has teamed with the Transit trip-planning app to create a dashboard that provides weekly estimates of public transit ridership.

Use of public transportation has fallen during the COVID-19 pandemic in part in response to public health alerts.

APTA said fluctuations in ridership make it difficult for transit agencies that rely on monthly or quarterly reporting to follow up-to-date ridership trends and benchmark against their peers.

The estimates provided by APTA and the Transit app provide real time estimates of transit ridership.

Estimated ridership values for each week are statistically modeled based on measures of Transit app use and do not represent actual reported ridership counts from agencies.

The Transit app counts the frequency of how often its app is opened, providing a measure of demand for public transit. 

Also factored into the estimates are regional trends and the pandemic’s current severity.

Cleveland RTA Adopts Pandemic Safety Plan

November 24, 2020

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority has adopted the American Public Transportation Association’s safety measures to operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The program includes following public health guidelines from official sources; cleaning and disinfecting rail cars frequently and requiring face coverings; keeping passengers informed; and requiring riders and employees to avoid public transit if they have been exposed to COVID-19 or feel ill.

More than 100 public transit systems have adopted the APTA program RTA said in a news release.

Commuter Railroads on Track to Meet PTC Deadline, APTA Says

November 14, 2020

The American Public Transportation Association said this week that the commuter-rail industry is on schedule to complete full implementation of positive train control by the Dec. 31 deadline set in federal law.

As of Sept. 30, 100 percent of commuter railroads are PTC certified by the Federal Railroad Administration or are awaiting approval on submitted PTC safety plans

In a news release, APTA said seven out of 23 of the railroads are certified by the FRA, and 16 railroads have submitted their safety plans to the FRA, a required step before certification, and are awaiting the agency’s approval.

Six other commuter railroads are tenants and their hosts have been approved by the FRA.

APTA Study Says Public Transportation Use Does Not Correlate With Catching COVID-19 Virus

October 1, 2020

The American Public Transportation Association said a study it commissioned found no correlation between use of public transport and the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The research was conducted by Sam Schwartz Researchers and concluded public transit ridership in multiple cities showed no correlation with the rise or fall of local COVID-19 cases in several communities studied.

The study said what a rider does at the end of a trip affects the probability of contracting the virus “far more than the mode of travel.”

The report said there will be long-term health consequences if people in large numbers switch from public transit to private cars.

It also concluded there are several possible explanations for the lack of correlation between the increase in public transit ridership and increasing COVID-19 cases.

House Pandemic Bill Has Amtrak, Transit Funding

September 30, 2020

A bill unveiled this week by Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives this week contains emergency air for public transit, Amtrak and the airlines.

Although the bill, named the Heroes Act, is expected to get a vote this week, some political observers don’t expect the Senate to vote on it. Instead the Senate might consider its own COVID-19 relief bill.

The House bill contains $2.2 trillion in emergency spending, including $2.4 billion for Amtrak.

Amtrak would receive $1.4 billion for the Northeast Corridor and $1 billion for the national network.

The bill allocates $569 million to help states and commuter rail providers pay Amtrak for state-supported route and commuter rail use of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.

Public transit would receive $32 billion, which includes $28.5 billion for operating assistance grants.

The American Public Transportation Association said in a statement that under the terms of the House bill the funding for public transit is to be directed to payroll and transit operations.

APTA said the funding, if approved by Congress and President Trump, would when combined with earlier approved CARES Act aid equal 100 percent of agencies’ operating expenses.

Also allocated by the bill is $2.5 billion for Capital Investment Grants for transit project sponsors with non-federal financial commitments and $10 billion for emergency relief grants for public transit agencies that require additional assistance to maintain operations.

The bill also contains $25 billion for airlines to save jobs through next March.

Airlines have been grabbing headlines in the past couple months by announcing massive layoffs and service cancellations once their CARES Act funding expires today (Sept. 30).

The House bill would extend $3 billion in payroll support for airline contractors as originally approved in March and $300 million to cargo airlines.

It also includes $13.5 billion in economic relief to airports and $75 million to preserve passenger air service for smaller communities.

An earlier House approved COVID-19 emergency aid bill failed to get a Senate vote and talks between the two chambers have broken down over partisan differences, including over the size of another relief bill and who would receive funding.

The latest House emergency relief bill is $1 trillion less than the earlier proposal approved last May.

There is some support among Senate Republicans who control that chamber for granting emergency aid to the airline industry, which in recent days has ramped up its lobbying campaign for more emergency funding as air travel remains in a severe slump.

A Senate bill introduced last week would provide $25.5 billion for passenger air carriers, $300 million for cargo air carriers and $3 billion for contractors.

Political observers have noted that airline aid has gained traction because many lawmakers of both parties and key administration officials fear that the layoffs airlines have signaled will occur in October could rattle an economy that remains in the doldrums.

APTA Has Grants to Bolster Public Transit

August 7, 2020

The American Public Transportation Association said it will award grants of $5,000 to $10,000 to transit coalitions to protect or expand public transportation, including rail.

In a news release, APTA said the grants will be seek to emphasize quick solutions to improve ridership, incorporate outreach to communities of color and/or promote efforts to activate college student as transit advocates.

APTA said projects with a “focused advocacy component” may be considered for additional funding.

A local public transportation coalition is defined as a group of people seeking to promote transit that has the support of local APTA members and becomes a member of the National Alliance of Public Transportation Advocates before receiving a grant.

Grant applications will be accepted until Aug. 21 and awards will be announced Sept. 16.