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TRANSIT SYSTEM NEWS
With an Aug. 1 deadline looming to turn over the Ontario County’s public bus system to the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transit Authority, county officials are making strides in the transition. Last week the County Board of Supervisors’ Public Works Committee approved the preliminary draft of a joint agreement with the RGRTA, contingent on the county attorney’s final review and acceptance of the agreement. This Thursday, the full board is expected to vote on the agreement.
While “sustainability” is a goal on almost every front these days, New York State has decided, as part of its “Medicaid Redesign,” to fly in the face of this trend by cutting its funding to mass transit systems in rural counties. These cuts will either shut down or drastically curtail the service that these systems are able to provide. All the “savings” that the state achieves in the Medicaid budget is going to be spent elsewhere to fix the problems caused by killing rural mass transit.
New York is getting at least $2.24 billion as part of a national settlement with the French bank BNP Paribas, and the money will go into the state's general fund for any number of purposes. E.J. McMahon, president of the Empire Center for State Policy, said the $2.24 billion from BNP should be equally split between funding projects for the New York City area transit system and the state Department of Transportation for upstate road and bridge projects.FEDERAL NEWS
The White House said Congress will have to make preventing a bankruptcy in federal transportation funding a priority after the Fourth of July holiday break. "This is traditionally an issue that has enjoyed bipartisan support, and we hope that will be true in this case because of the consequences of Congress failing to act for our economy," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said. Lawmakers are trying to come up with a way to close the shortfall in transportation funding, which is estimated to be about $16 billion per year.
At DOT, safety has always been our first priority, but it wasn’t until two years ago that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) was finally granted the authority to oversee the safety of all of America’s individual public transportation systems. We got to work right away. One of the agency’s first steps in establishing our authority was to set up a new Office of Transit Safety and Oversight (TSO), which marked its first birthday last week.
OTHER NEWS OF INTEREST
TAMPA -- One of the most powerful vehicles for fashioning a comprehensive board development plan while also generating the kind of board ownership that fuels commitment to implementing the development recommendations in the plan is the retreat-driven design approach, which the Spokane Transit Authority and the Capital District Transportation Authority, among others, employed. It makes good sense when an organization’s CEO and board chair determine that intensive, early involvement of all board members will be critical to the ultimate success of the board development planning effort.
PENSECOLA -- Escambia County Area Transit is giving out more than just bus rides this summer. ECAT employees rode around Pensacola on Wednesday morning and surprised three people at their homes with gifts to make their daily commutes easier. The event was designed to help area residents "break up" with their cars and start falling in love with public transit. ECAT's swarm of suitors won over winner Bobby Hunter when they arrived on his doorstep with a year's supply of bottled water.
WASHINGTON, DC -- Cruising to work in a levitating pod 20 feet above city streets might sound like something out of “The Jetsons,” but a California company is building the technology right now in Tel Aviv and thinks it could solve transportation problems in major cities worldwide. SkyTran Inc. has formed an unlikely partnership with defense giant Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. to build a prototype of the next-generation mass-transit system at the Israeli company’s headquarters. Tel Aviv has committed to installing a 2.7-mile downtown commercial line that could be completed as soon as 2016 at a cost of about $50 million if the project succeeds.
RAPID CITY, SD -- Rapid City is playing host this week to students from 24 different universities for the first ever joint transportation conference. Around 500 traffic and transportation professionals and vendors are joining the western and mid-western district meeting of the institute of transportation engineering. 109 college and university students are also in attendance over the next few days sharing ideas and networking with professionals. .Kevin Carstens, President of Competition, says "The purpose of the James Kell competition is to help teach incoming transportation professionals about the parts of the industry that don’t come across in a classroom setting."
NYPTA TRAINING AND EVENTS
Our Newest Initiative – NYS Public Transit Leadership Institute
Will your agency be ready? The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports one third of civilian employees working for State and Federal governments will retire in seven to ten years with 34% currently over the age of 50. It is extremely important that our authorities, agencies and transit systems be able to minimize the leadership voids caused by retirements and other departures. The Public Transit Leadership Institute (PTLI) will prepare future executives to lead when their time arrives and establish a path for senior managers who aspire to become transit industry leaders. PTLI provides knowledge, training and mentoring to our leaders of tomorrow. Click here for more information on this exciting new program.
2014 NY Public Transit Fall ExpoWe invite transit industry manufacturers, vendors and service providers to reserve your space at the 2014 New York Public Transit Fall Expo, September 16-18 at the Saratoga City Center in Saratoga Springs. It’s your chance to market your solutions to more than 150 public transportation leaders from across the State. Expanded hours give you a greater opportunity to make important connections. Call Mike Cocca at 518.434.9060 for your exhibitor prospectus, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.