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TRANSIT SYSTEM NEWS
MTA New York City Transit has honored 30 workers for outstanding service in 2014. Medals and commendations are awarded annually to Transit employees for specific acts of bravery, quick thinking in potentially dangerous or fatal situations, and for excellent service in day-to-day operations. The awards are presented annually in three areas: heroism, for specific acts of bravery, either on or off duty, in the face of extremely dangerous circumstances; commendations, for job-related acts that involve great personal risk or exceptional judgment; and distinguished service, for employees who have demonstrated outstanding efficiency.
The Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) Board of Directors approved the purchase of two articulated buses that are expected to be used on high volume routes and future Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines. “The addition of articulated buses will help to relieve overcrowding we are seeing on many routes due to increased ridership,” CDTA Board Chairman David M. Stackrow said. “It’s also another innovative message to the community about the critical services we provide and a look into our vision for the future.”
STATE NEWSNew York Public Transit Association (NYPTA) Policy Director Robert Zerrillo testified before the State Assembly Standing Committee on Transportation on the impact of the New York State Budget on the Department of Transportation’s two year Capital Program. Zerrillo presented NYPTA’s case that the state needs to create a statewide transit capital funding program for all transit systems across the state. Currently, only the MTA has such a state approved multi-year capital investment program.
The Senate passed a broad $41.6 billion program of tax breaks that will, among many other things, retroactively raise the monthly mass-transit subsidy to $250 per month for 2014, restoring it to the level of the unaffected monthly parking subsidy. The mass-transit tax break had fallen to $130 per month on Jan. 1, 2014. The extension of these tax breaks, however, will only last until the end of 2014. "It is quite literally the best we could do," said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), incoming chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. "This package of incentives — which applies only to 2014 — will last two more weeks before families and businesses will be thrown back into the dark about what taxes they owe," Sen. RonWyden said. "This tax bill doesn't have the shelf life of a carton of eggs."
More than 2.7 billion trips were taken on U.S. public transportation in the third quarter of 2014, according to a report released by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). The ridership numbers for quarter three was a 1.8% increase over the same quarter last year, representing an increase of more than 48 million trips and the highest third quarter ridership since 1974. APTA President/CEO Michael Melaniphy said, "There are a number of reasons why public transportation ridership is on the rise."
OTHER NEWS OF INTEREST
MINNEAPOLIS — Much of the millennial generation — the 77 million Americans born between 1983 and 2000 — is decidedly lukewarm when it comes to Americans' century-long love affair with the automobile. They appear to prefer biking, walking, taking mass transit and sharing cars. "Transportation policy tends to be a generation behind. We're still trying to build our grandfather's interstate highway system," said Phineas Baxandall, a senior analyst with the consumer group U.S. PIRG. Policymakers should not only accommodate Gen Y's desire to drive less, but encourage it, he said.
WASHINGTON — New toll lanes on Interstate 95 in northern Virginia are “a glimpse into the future” of transportation funding, the group that lobbies for more tolling on U.S. roads in Washington is arguing. Twenty-nine miles of new High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes south of Washington opened to drivers this week. The International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) said the new route, known as “95 Express Lanes,” are an example of how tolling can be used to replace federal money that has become hard to come by for building new transportation projects.
LOS ANGELES — A team of UCLA graduate students in Playa Vista is investigating the feasibility of the Hyperloop, a futuristic, high-speed tube that could someday blast passengers in pods from Los Angeles to San Francisco in about 30 minutes. The studio’s director, Craig Hodgetts, called the Hyperloop “insane” but insists that “the physics are sound.” From a design standpoint, one of the biggest challenges is how to integrate Hyperloop stations into the urban environment so people can travel to and from them quickly without waiting before boarding and take off like they do at airports.
TRAINING AND EVENTS
Plan to join your public transit colleagues in Albany for NYPTA’s 2015 Transit Awareness Day. Be at the Capital February 3 to bring lawmakers a unified message on the importance of investing in transit infrastructure.
We need a show of strength, a united voice to be heard, and we need you make it happen.
Our industry partners play a key role, too. Become a Transit Awareness Day sponsor and secure a prominent position on Transit Awareness Day 2015!
Be in Albany on February 3. More details and Registration here.
Webinar: BECOMING A BOARD-SAVVY CEO
The NYPTA Board of Directors and staff wishes our members, sponsors, industry partners and colleagues a very Happy Holiday season. We sincerely thank you and appreciate the support you provide NYPTA and the contributions you make to advancing the transit industry in New York and nationally.