Report from the APTA Legislative Meeting Held 12.4.09

​APTA Legislative Committee

Meeting was at Liaison Capital Hotel

9:00 AM, December 4, 2009

Opening welcome by Committee Chairman Bill Volk and APTA President Bill Millar.

Matt Welbes, FTA Executive Director addressed the Committee on a variety of issues, including Administration’s request for an 18 month extension in the authorizing bill and how supportive the administration was of transit. He spent considerable time outlining the recently announced Livability Initiative Grants. There is $130 million available for streetcar and BRT projects and $150 million for bus and bus facilities. No change in criteria in bus and bus facilities from previous years, but he outlined issues with the streetcar and BRT funding. Such a project must already be finished with Alternative Analysis and be environmentally cleared in an Environmental Impact Statement or these must be underway or be able to show substantial progress in order to be eligible for these funds.

Bill Millar led the Committee in an extensive discussion of Operating Assistance. A set of “Summary Points” was handed out and comments taken. Then a small group developed a refined summary and that was adopted by the Legislative Committee that calls for a new temporary pot of money to be created off budget just for Operating Assistance which could not be used for wage increases. The Committee reaffirmed its support for permanent operating assistance for systems under 100 buses.

The Alternative Fuels Tax Credit lapses at end of this year. It still may be extended or re-enacted after the first of the year.

FRA is developing an NPRM on Positive Train Control. (for Commuter Rail)

The Committee discussed the issue of distribution of the bus capital funding. While having adopted some of the APTA position, Congress is proposing to distribute the bus capital funds in a way so that some of it would go to rail programs. I expressed concern on this and asked APTA to work hard to get the APTA (and SWTA) position adopted by Congress.


Dick Ruddell

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