Tuesday Transit News
December 22, 2015
New Metro-North Safety Chief Named
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) Metro-North Railroad named Justin R. Vonashek as the agency’s new VP, system safety. The position will oversee all efforts to ensure the safety of its customers and employees as the railroad continues to improve work practices and invest in new technology and equipment. Before joining Metro-North, Vonashek was the chief safety, security, emergency preparedness and regulatory compliance officer, at MBTA Commuter Rail in Boston.
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RTS and Rochester Schools Reach Deal
The Rochester City School District (RCSD) Board of Education has approved a new four year contract with the Regional Transit System (RTS) to continue transporting students to RCSD schools. “I applaud RCSD for approving this four-year contract and adding a welcome degree of certainty to our planning and stability for our workforce” said RTS CEO Bill Carpenter.
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CDTA and Transit Union Agree on New Pact
The Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) Board of Directors has approved a new three-year contract between CDTA and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 132. The three-year package provides improvements to wages and benefits, while providing appropriate management oversight regarding work assignment and service quality. Approximately 580 union-represented employees are covered by the contract, which will run until June 2018.
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Cuomo Names News Budget Director
Governor Cuomo is shuffling his inner circle heading into the new year by elevating his communications director to chief of staff and raiding the state Senate Republicans for a new budget director, according to the Daily News. Cuomo has hired the well-regarded Senate GOP Chief of Staff Robert Mujica as his new budget director, the source said. Mujica, who will start in early January, has had a close relationship with Cuomo.
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Call for Upstate Transit Funding Deal
Despite Washington’s almost complete paralysis due to partisan gridlock, earlier this month federal legislators came to a sensible and bipartisan agreement on a multi-year plan with capital increases that would provide over $300 million to our nation’s transportation system over the next five years. There is absolutely no reason that New York’s governor and Legislature can’t produce a similar agreement that is fully funded to meet the system’s needs in this upcoming legislative session.
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Public Transit Commuters Get Parity
Christmas came a bit early for taxpaying U.S. transit commuters. The new tax deal reached by Congress includes a provision that creates parity between commuters who drive to work and those who take the train, subway, or bus. Under the existing rules, employees who ride public transit can get a maximum of $130 a month in IRS commuter benefits, while those who park at the office get up to $250. Beginning in 2016 the playing field levels out to $255 for both commute modes.
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Technology to Manage Winter Roads
As state transportation officials prepare for this season’s onslaught of winter blizzards and ice storms, many of them will be using technology in new ways to help clear the roads and make them safer for drivers. “Technology has changed winter services across the board,” said Rich Roman, maintenance and operations director for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. “Look inside a plow truck — it almost looks like the cockpit of an airplane, with knobs and controls and radio communication.”
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Transit Campaign to Assist Older Adults
Washington, DC -- A new campaign launched by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging aims to help older adults realize when giving up driving may be the safest choice and make the transition to public transportation or other ways of getting around. To guide seniors through what can be a difficult time, the association, which represents a network of 622 area agencies on aging nationwide, has developed a brochure to educate seniors and help them prepare and act —  to create a "road map" to life without driving.
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Health Clinics at Transit Stops Proposed
North St. Louis County, MO -- Metro transit’s parent company is looking into the possibility of building health clinics at Metro stops as to provide easier ways to access health care.  Metro awarded a $40,000 grant to conduct a feasibility study essentially creating a business plan to consider the possible locations, services provided and the cost. Bi-state development project manager John Wagner said the goal is to improve health care for people who don’t have access to medical providers.
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Plan now to be at the Capital in Albany February 2 for NYPTA’s 2016 Transit Awareness Day. Join us in bringing lawmakers a unified message on the importance of investing in transit infrastructure.

The Governor and Legislature need to take the lead on securing resources to fund critical infrastructure investments necessary for safety and meeting increased public demand.

We need a unified voice, we need to be heard and we need you make it happen!
Our industry partners can play a key role, too. Become a Transit Awareness Day sponsor and secure a prominent position on Transit Awareness Day 2016!

Mark your calendars. Be in Albany on February 2nd. More details to come.

Maintenance Directors Network

NYPTA has set up a Maintenance Directors Network (MDN) to connect maintenance professionals from throughout the state. The MDN offers a wonderful opportunity to enhance knowledge on maintenance specific topics, hear from experts in the field and gain a sense of comradery. A MDN list-serve has also been set up to assist in communicating.  If you or someone you know would like more information or to be added to the MDN, please contact info@nytransit.org and we will add you to the list.  

The NYPTA Board of Directors and staff wish everyone a Happy Holiday season. Safe Travels!


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New York Public Transit Association Headquarters

136 Everett Road
Albany, NY 12205
United States

ph: 518-434-9060 > 518-426-7092
info@nytransit.org > www.nytransit.org

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