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Could the East End become the next San Francisco, with packed trolleys carrying passengers between Riverhead and Orient? Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone seems to think so. A “rapid trolley system,” he said — one that could run between train stations — would best connect East End communities. “If we’re going to have sustainable economic growth, we can’t do it by just adding more cars to the roadway,” Mr. Bellone said.
More people rode New York City's subways last year than any time since 1949 — and Brooklyn is one of the reasons for the boom. It had the largest borough-wide average weekday ridership increase, with the L, F and G lines all experiencing substantial growth. The MTA says last year's subway ridership of 1.7 billion was the highest since 1949, and weekday ridership of 5.5 million was the highest since 1950.
The Capital District Transportation Authority will put more money behind plans for two new rapid-transit lines and a downtown Albany transit hub, according to its fiscal 2015 budget. The CDTA board approved a $78.4 million operating budget for the fiscal year beginning April 1 to support its bus operations across the region, plus $20.3 million in capital spending. “This year’s budget is more than numbers, it is a road map that will allow CDTA to pave the way for innovative service expansion and support increased ridership,” said CDTA board Chairman David Stackrow.
Amtrak has sent Congress its fiscal year 2015 budget request, asking for greater investment to keep the Northeast Corridor infrastructure from experiencing expensive and damaging failure in the future. For FY 2015, Amtrak asked Congress for $1.62 billion in federal capital and operating support. This number represents a 16 percent increase from FY2014 levels. President and CEO Joe Boardman said that a strong federal commitment was necessary for Amtrak to be able to both plan and implement major, multi-year projects for these operations, like replacing Northeast Corridor (NEC) bridges and tunnels, some one hundred years old, for better service.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has unveiled a coordinated transportation resiliency program to help prepare the region for future emergencies, reduce the impact of future storms on vital transportation infrastructure, and improve the long-term reliability and resiliency of the public transportation network. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) and the Moynihan Station Development Corporation (MSDC) worked together to prepare a plan that considered transportation needs and priorities on a regional level, in order to protect against stronger and more frequent storms in the future.
The state Department of Transportation has extended the public comment period on plans for high-speed rail service between New York City and Upstate New York. The comment period was originally supposed to end Monday. Officials have received about 250 comments and held six public hearings across the state that attracted more than 500 people. Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald says comments will be accepted through April 30.
OTHER NEWS OF INTEREST
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) reports public transportation use in the United States in 2013 rose to 10.7 billion trips – the highest number in 57 years. APTA and its predecessor organizations have collected ridership information since 1917. This ridership increase isn’t a one-year blip on the radar. If you look at the 18 year period from 1995-2013, public transportation ridership grew 37.2 percent, almost double the amount of the population growth at 20.3 percent. This is a long-term trend that shows that more and more Americans are using public transportation.
Minnesota - There’s both pain and progress as the Twin Cities, like the nation, experiences a steep rise in the use of public transit. And transit advocates say they expect two growing demographic segments to provide continued thrust for years to come. “Millennials and seniors are going to be huge in keeping public transportation hot,” said Virginia Miller, spokeswoman for the Washington, D.C.-based American Public Transportation Association. With the U.S. population expected to grow 100 million by 2050, transit will become more appealing, she said. “Do we want them all on the road? Of course not. They’re already congested.”
Kansas - First, there was Fair Fares for competitively priced Wichita air flights. Now, there’s Free Fares to help combat air pollution by putting more riders on city buses. The $99,000 Free Fares program, developed between the Public Works & Utilities Air Quality Program and Wichita Transit, will devote almost $80,000 in state grant money and $19,000 from the transit and air quality budgets to free bus rides June 16 through 21, including Dump the Pump Day on June 19. Free rides also will be offered any time the city is under an ozone alert, indicating that air pollution levels are at or near federal limits.
New Hampshire - An independent poll done for the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce found strong support for restoring commuter rail service in New Hampshire even it requires an annual, $15 million subsidy from state taxpayers. A spokesman for the New Hampshire Rail Transit Authority said this survey was consistent with what that group has found. “The establishment of passenger rail service has numerous benefits,” said E.J. Powers.
Public transportation users can save, on average, more than $842 this month, and $10,103 annually, representing an increase of 22 cents over last month’s gas prices, according to the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) March Transit Savings Report. APTA releases this monthly Transit Savings Report to examine how an individual in a two-person household can save money by taking public transportation and living with one less car.
The Roadway Safety Foundation has released a tool to help communities and state transportation departments better work together to keep citizens safe on and around roads and bridges. The guide, written for non-engineers, is intended to help users develop strategies to begin making roads, roadsides, and bridges safer. It includes clear descriptions of funding and decision-making processes that affect roadway safety.
NYPTA TRAINING AND EVENTS
Public Transit Industry FREE Webinar Series
Participants will focus on the process of developing a strong succession plan. You will learn how to identify key positions and leaders within your organization, and how to engage those people both inside and outside of the organization who will allow for continued growth as current leaders are phased out. Performance metrics and tracking of data will be discussed as tools for analyzing the progress of your succession plan. Registration is Free
2014 NY Public Transit Industry Solutions Fall Conference Call for Presentations
We invite you to share YOUR transit solutions at the New York State Public Transit Fall Conference & Expo, September 16-18 in Saratoga Springs, NY. As ridership increases throughout the State, the industry is evolving to meet the transit needs of our community and provide safe, reliable and consistent service to its riders. We learn, connect, and grow by sharing our leading edge ideas with one another.