Hi all, I recently received the information below on an email distribution list regarding transportation issues, at all levels from local to Tallahassee up through federal: "Hi Chip, If you and / or TABI members wish to receive information and updates from Jo Ann Hutchinson on local, regional and federal transportation issues, please contact her and ask to be placed on her email list. Her connections, information and networking on transportation issues are the best." From: joannhutchinson@xxxxxxxxx [mailto:joannhutchinson@xxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Joann Hutchinson Sent: Thursday, February 18, 2010 9:34 AM Subject: Fast Mail: The Newsletter of the Community Transportation Industry February 16, 2010 About Fast Mail Fast Mail is a regular compilation of the latest news and updates from the Community Transportation industry that delivers timely information, resources, and announcements to our members, colleagues and friends. Please keep us posted on your latest news and developments by emailing your content to fastmail@xxxxxxxx . The Capitol Limited News on federal transportation policy and developments from the Nation's Capitol Senate Finance Committee Releases First Version of Jobs Legislation; More Changes Expected : Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and his panel's senior Republican, Chuck Grassley (Iowa), recently offered a job-creation proposal designed to garner enough GOP votes to overcome an anticipated filibuster. The measure's transportation provisions align with a draft bill floated on Tuesday by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), with the nation's highway trust fund getting a financial reprieve that would last through the end of 2010, at a cost of $19.5 billion. Meanwhile, much work remains to be done by the Senate in drafting a final Jobs bill. The Community Transportation Association supports the continuation of investment in public and community transit that provides flexibility for transit operators to utilize investment for both capital and operating assistance. For more information on our efforts to support federal transit operating assistance, please visit http://www.operatingassistance.org/ . Obama Administration Plans for Transportation Infrastructure Bank : The infrastructure bank -- called a National Infrastructure Innovation and Finance Fund -- would be used to expand existing federal transportation investments by providing direct federal funding and seed money for large-scale capital project grants that "provide a significant economic benefit to the nation or a region." Obama requested $4 billion to launch the bank, $2.6 billion of which would be handed out in grants or loans during fiscal 2011. Roughly $270 million would be used for administrative, planning and project analysis costs, with the remaining carried over to the next year. EPA Launches New Offices of Sustainable Communities : If you're thinking about starting some sort of smart transportation, smart water or any other project focused on improving the sustainability profile of your community, you might be able to borrow some resources from the Environment Protection Agency's new Office of Sustainable Communities. The focus of the new organization is to help cities and other local neighborhoods or economic regions take an integrated approach to transportation and housing decisions with the ultimate aim of protecting the environment, promoting equitable development and helping address the needs of climate change. Transit, Labor Make Joint Push for Federal Operating Assistance : More voices are calling on Congress to increase federal support for transit agencies that continue to grapple with fare hikes and service cuts. The Community Transportation Association of America, which represents small transit agencies across the country, and the Amalgamated Transit Union recently announced a new national coalition called The Alliance for Transit Operating Assistance, focused on this cause. Department of Labor Announces Health Care & Training Grants : The U.S. Department of Labor today announced more than $225 million in health care and high growth training grants funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The grants will allow community colleges, community-based organizations, state workforce agencies and other public entities to deliver training that leads to employment in a range of health care fields and other growing industries. With today's announcement, organizations in all 50 states have received a share of nearly $750 million in competitive grant funding made available through the Department of Labor. PBS Airs Beyond the Motor City : Blueprint America: Beyond the Motor City examines how Detroit, a symbol of America's diminishing status in the world, may come to represent the future of transportation and progress in America. America 2050 Conducts Community Sourcing Competition : America 2050 is planning a Community Sourcing Competition to visualize the future of America's communities and transportation systems. A "Slidecast" of its concept is provided below with audio narration. Commentary: Regional Transit Key to Economic Future : "We represent two of southeastern Wisconsin's largest institutions and provide critical services to thousands of local residents on a daily basis. We understand that a fully-funded transit infrastructure impacts our clients, customers, business, and the economic climate in southeastern Wisconsin. We have hundreds of employees that use buses to get to work every day, however that number continues to decrease as the bus system disintegrates. Continued cuts to the system impair our employees' ability to get to work and our clients' and customers' ability to get critical services and products." Commentary: States Need to Consider New Approaches to Budgeting : "Swimming in red ink, deficits rolling in as far as the eye can see, what are America's state governments to do? The "realists," notes government reform expert Ted Kolderie, 'tell us the only options are to cut and to tax.' Their clear message, he suggests: 'With more we can do more; with less we have to do less. We don't do different.'" The Community Transportation Flyer Updates from community and public transportation systems from across the country Vancouver, Canada Launches Streetcar for Olympic Games : Bombardier Transportation and the City of Vancouver, Canada are co-sponsors of the 1.8-kilometre Olympic Line where Bombardier is operating two Bombardier Flexity streetcars. Free service will be provided 18 hours a day, seven days a week, between Jan. 21 and March 21, 2010. The vehicles, on loan from the Brussels (Belgium) Transport Company STIB (Société des Transports Intercommunaux de Bruxelles), feature easy access for all passengers, wide doors, large windows, and a beautifully-finished interior. Duluth (Minn.) Transit Authority Sets New Ridership Marks : Duluth, Minn., Transit Authority ridership for 2009 surpassed the 3 million rider mark for the second consecutive time since 2002. Ridership for 2009, which was down 1.4 percent from 2008, totaled almost 3.2 million. DTA ridership has steadily improved over the past few years and is up 21.8 percent since 2005. DTA ridership gains parallel the national trend. Americans are using public transportation due to volatile gas prices and inflation. Even though fuel prices have subsided since last fall's high, DTA ridership continues to be strong. Beverly Foundation Announces 2010 STAR Search/Awards Program : The Beverly Foundation has announced that its 2010 STAR Search/STAR Awards Program will begin Feb. 8 and end Feb. 26. Substantial awards will be given to at least 10 organizations that provide transportation services to older adults. Guidelines and applications for the 2010 STAR Search/STAR Awards Program can be found at www.beverlyfoundation.org . Some of the winning organizations in the 2009 STAR Search were Cheer, Inc., Del.; St Johns Council on Aging, Fla.; Special Transit, Inc., Colo.; and Western Community Action, Inc., Minn. Princeton (N.J.) To Expand Shuttle Service : Princeton, N.J., may have a new shuttle route linking key areas within the next three to four months. The route is a result of the Princeton Partnership, a collaboration of businesses, institutions, governments and community NGOs established by the non-partisan volunteer organization Princeton Future. Princeton University hired a consulting firm in the winter of 2009 to determine how to best integrate the transit systems. The consultation led to a trial run of a holiday weekend shuttle, which was described as "hugely successful." Trailblazer Transit (Minn.) Predicts Ridership Record : Ridership for Trailblazer Transit, a public transportation service for McLeod and Sibley counties, continues to increase. Gary Ludwig, Trailblazer director, told the system's Joint Powers Board Friday that final statistics are not complete yet, but he expects rides to top 150,000 for 2009. Along with the increase in ridership, Trailblazer has been coping with plans for a new facility, staffing shortages and the implementation of new dispatching software, which is replacing the "pencil-and-paper" dispatching the system currently uses. Alberta, Canada Invests in Public Transit : Money will begin to flow this year to boost public transit projects as part of the Alberta government's climate change initiatives -- however, other provincial environmental programs will be cut. The government says it's still committed to Green TRIP (Transit Incentives Program), announced with great fanfare in July 2008 alongside another $2 billion in carbon capture and storage (CCS) funding. Although Green TRIP didn't see any funding in the 2009-10 budget year, the province says it will begin accepting applications this year. About $70 million will be allocated in the 2010-11 budget year, and $200 million in each of the two following years. Editorial: Buffalo's NFTA Rethinking Fares and Routes : "During these difficult financial times, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority deserves credit for taking a moment to consider ways to simplify life for bus and train commuters. The NFTA may eliminate transfer fees and its traditional zone surcharges, smoothing the ride for both operator and travelers. There is cause for relief in the possibility that confusion could end over who should pay $1.75 for one zone or $2.05 for two zones on the bus, and when and where each passenger embarked and disembarked." Sutter Hill Transit Center (Calif.) Opens : The Amador Regional Transit System has opened a new facility in Sutter Creek, Calif. The Sutter Hill Transit Center will serve as the hub for all shuttles, including a new express service route between Sutter Creek and Jackson. The center features a large parking area for use by commuters who utilize the transit system, Americans with Disabilities Act compliant rest room facilities, bike lockers, and a large covered space filled with benches where riders can sit while waiting for connections. Peoria (Ill.) Extends Life of Former Chicago Buses : Of the 10 Chicago Transit Authority buses CityLink purchased more than a year ago, all but two are routinely, if not daily, used for service. After spending close to $9,000 for all the buses, CityLink pumped another $2,000 into the eight buses used on routes. That cost covered new shocks and other minor repairs on the TMC-brand buses, a model that was retired more than 18 years ago. A year later, four of the buses remain in service. One is used on a daily basis, and two are for backup. The last is in need of a transmission. The other four are kept for special events or when needed for other reasons. New Jersey COST Seeks Solutions to Transit Funding Crisis (PDF): The New Jersey Council on Special Transportation (NJ COST), a statewide advocacy association that for over 25 years has provided information and support for community-based transit services, has announced that New Jersey's transportation services for senior citizens, persons with disabilities and the economically disadvantaged are facing a financial crisis. Most of New Jersey's designated 21-county coordinated systems heavily rely on transportation funding from the Casino Revenue's "Senior Citizens and Disabled Residents Transportation Assistance Program." However, with the poor economy, the Atlantic City casinos are not maintaining the revenue levels of recent years. The 21 County transportation systems will lose nearly $4 million for services starting January 2009. Even worse, another loss is projected for 2010, and will continue if no action is taken. Coastal Carolina University (S.C.) Launches Smart Ride Program for Students : The Smart Ride program was modeled after Charleston, S.C.'s The Citadel, where incoming cadets are given a discount card that they can use for free rides any time, with no questions asked. To publicize the program to students, SGA workers are handing out Smart Ride cards with names and numbers of the cab companies and their rates. Student riders will have to show a student ID to get the special rates. A few of the cab companies are offering a flat rate of $25 to the airport as well as a 25 percent discount on student trips. The rest of the companies offer students a 20 percent discount. Wichita Falls Transit (Texas) Conducts Ride Free Week : The Wichita Falls Transit Division and Metropolitan Planning Organization invited citizens throughout the area to experience Falls Ride for free during Ride Free Week. This opportunity to enjoy the comfort, convenience and affordability of public transportation was held Feb. 8-12 for the duration of all bus route schedules. Participants were able to ride on the city's new fleet of state-of-the-art buses designed with the latest technology and comfort for public transportation users. ORCA Card Improves Transit Options for Community Transit (Wash.) Passengers : Community Transit of Everett, Wash., has began to use ORCA (One Regional Card for All) to eliminate the need for paper transfers and passes. "By eliminating paper transfers and paper passes, the agencies will save printing and handling costs," Martin Munguia, spokesman for Community Transit said. "ORCA will allow more efficient fare reconciliation amongst agencies, meaning we will get the correct amount of fare due each agency, rather than a guess." Vanderbilt University Plays Key Role in Transit Improvement Effort : A new nonprofit corporation has been created to promote public transportation in Middle Tennessee, with Vanderbilt University as the primary sponsor. Vanderbilt has committed $100,000 per year for the next three years to help fund the Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee. The corporation will work to galvanize community support for transit development, provide information on the benefits of transit, develop regional agreement on strategies for funding transit and advocate for dedicated funding for regional and local transit. Plans Advance for Ann Arbor (Mich.) Transit Center : Slated to open in 2012, the Fuller Intermodal Transit Center will include a four-level parking lot with over 900 spaces. The center will also feature a busing transit space, interior bus waiting room and bicycle storage area for commuters. New Brunswick (N.J.) Plans for New Transit Village : Millions of dollars in proposed work to Route 1 in North Brunswick, N.J. could be considered later this month by the city council. The work, which would cost more than $7.8 million, would be paid for by developers Prestige and TOD Associates, which also paid for the $100,000 study that recommended the improvements. Cleveland RTA Considers New BRT Line : Cleveland RTA is considering a new bus/rapid transit line for southeastern Cuyahoga County. It's an intriguing idea that supporters say could spur residential and commercial development. The line would use articulated buses and coordinated traffic signals. Passengers in both directions would travel to work, school and home. Indianapolis Releases Plans for $1 Billion Transit Investment : After a year of study, the transit committee, which includes representatives from business and industry throughout Central Indiana, is proposing a transit investment plan that includes light rail and commuter trains, greatly increased bus service, bike paths and walkways and special toll lanes on specific interstate roads allowing motorists to avoid traffic jams. Birmingham (Ala.) Mayor Announces Plans for Transit Revitalization : Mayor William Bell announced Tuesday a three-point solution to jump-start rehabilitation of Birmingham's ailing transit system. Bell said he is committed to finding funds to keep the system running for the next three months. Before the announcement, the system was on the verge of being shut down on Feb. 28 due to a lack of funds. Transit officials had previously asked the city for $9 million in additional funding to stay afloat. Community Leaders Plead for Public Transportation in Laurel (Miss.) : Abigail Dean, case manager for the Laurel Salvation Army, appeared before the City Council, asking them to consider adding a public transportation system locally. As a social worker for the Salvation Army, Dean said she has seen firsthand the need for public transportation. "People can't get to their doctors," she said. "People are losing their jobs because they couldn't get to it. They have appointments or need to go to interviews for their job search." Wetaskiwin (Alberta, Canada) Community Transportation Study Moves Forward : A study is underway on the sustainability of the Wetaskiwin Community Transportation Society. The study is focused on the local busing system, which offers transportation to disabled and special needs people, as well as seniors, for a nominal fee. Around the Depot New products and documents and upcoming events and training from Community Transportation Association's staff Share, Brag or Complain About One-Call Services in your Community, State or Region ! We want to know how one-call services function in different communities and the variety of ways communities and regions have established one-call services. Please share your experience and knowledge by clicking on the following link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/YHF9NML The Commuter Tax Benefit: A Federal Incentive for Vanpool Riders and Their Employers : Join vanpool providers and experts on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2010, from 2:00-3:15 p.m. EST, for "The Commuter Tax Benefit: A Federal Incentive for Vanpool Riders and Their Employers." This webinar is one in a series on developing and implementing sustainable vanpool initiatives. The webinars, funded by the Community Transportation Association's Joblinks Transportation Center, are free to all who are interested. Joblinks is supported by funding from the U.S. DOT Federal Transit Administration and the U.S. DOL Employment and Training Administration. New Intensive Training Session, Microsoft Office Skills for Transit Personnel, Added to EXPO 2010 : A new Intensive Training Session for EXPO 2010, "Microsoft Office Skills for Transit Personnel," has been added to the CTAA EXPO Registration site. This full-day workshop will cover basic skills in Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook. Note: Participants in this session must bring their own laptop computers. Lessons will be based on the 2007 version of Microsoft Office, taught from a Windows perspective. For more information please contact Eileen Boswell at boswell@xxxxxxxx . 3 Trainings, 2 Days, 1 Site (March 17-18) : The Community Transportation Association and its partners invite you to take advantage of a unique training event this spring. On March 17 and 18, you have the opportunity to attend one of three valuable courses, being offered concurrently at the same location: Certified Safety and Security Manager (offered here for the first time!) Coordinated Mobility: A Unified Transportation Management Solution Transportation Solutions: Linking People with Their Community The venue for these trainings is the historic Renaissance Providence Hill in downtown Providence, Rhode Island. To learn more and register, visit www.ctaa.org/training . d EXPO 2010 Website & Registration Now Open! Our full EXPO 2010 website is now available, including live registration. There you can find full details, schedules and other important information to plan your EXPO experience. Addition, you can also follow us on Facebook at Ctaa Expo. www.ctaa.org/expo . d 2010 Buyers Guide Coming Soon: Community Transportation magazine's annual Buyers Guide to products and services available from suppliers, manufacturers and contractors will be published in February 2010. This highly usable and informative reference document includes important contact information and descriptions of companies and firms throughout the community and public transportation industry. Manufacturers, suppliers and contractors: to ensure your entity is listed (or correctly updated) in the 2010 Buyers Guide, contact Rich Sampson at sampson@xxxxxxxx . The Information Station Our latest additions to www.ctaa.org Analysis: CTAA's Analysis of the President's Budget for Transportation : This year's federal transportation budget is a greater than usual challenge, for three reasons. One is the lack of an authorization (SAFETEA-LU expired last year, and is being sustained through a series of short-term extensions). The second is an expressed desire from this Administration for maintaining the federal motor fuels tax (which has been the source of nearly all federal transit funding since the 1980s) at the current rate of 18.4 cents per gallon, which is where it's stood since 1991. The third budget challenge is the President's expressed desire to freeze most discretionary domestic spending at current levels. The Association's Statement on President Obama's Proposed FY 2011 Budget : "We view this announcement and budget proposal as part of the process begun in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and appropriation process last year," said CTAA Executive Director Dale J. Marsico, CCTM. "We appreciate the consideration given to our members' priorities and the priorities of the American people -- especially those who rely on public transportation as their link to all aspects of American life." Analysis: RAIL Magazine's Analysis of President Obama's High Speed Rail Initiative : The following is RAIL Magazine's unique analysis of the projects selected by the Obama Administration, including descriptions of new elements of each corridor, how each investment fits within their recent trends and developments, and how the projects are positioned in the larger scope of a intermodal and dynamic national transportation network. You can also listen to the Association's rail expert, Richard Sampson, discuss President Obama's initiative on WAMU (Real Audio and Windows Media). Rural Vanpooling: Highlights from Three Communities Webinar Playback : Rural communities are often challenged to provide workers with shared-ride commuting options and an increasing number of communities are looking to vanpools. Vanpooling offers a flexible and cost-effective solution for these smaller, more widely dispersed communities, and is an option that benefits commuters and businesses alike. Watch and listen to the full Webinar playback and download the supporting documents. CTAPnet Peer Network : The CTAP Peer Network, CTAPnet, is an online community of community transportation practitioners and experts. This revitalized Peer Network enables you to ask questions of transportation providers working in the field as well as engage in conversations with other transit professionals. It provides distance learning events on the latest topics of interest to community transportation. Visit http://ctapnet.org . Transportation Toolkit for the Business Community : The Transportation Toolkit for the Business Community gives businesses the information they need now to assist their employees in achieving a timely, cost-efficient commute that promotes productivity and job satisfaction. The Toolkit provides your business with strategies and resources that meet employee commuting needs while advancing your business goals. Included below are flyers, fact sheets, resources and examples of transportation initiatives undertaken by employers nationwide. Each approach is to straightforward launch and simple to manage. -- Jo Ann Hutchinson UWR Coordination Ambassador-Region 4 National Resource Center for Human Service Transportation Coordination Community Transportation Association of America Email: hutchinson@xxxxxxxx Web: www.ctaa.org/nrc/region4 Web: www.nrctransportation.org Phone: 1.800.891.0590, Ext. 730 Fax: 1.850.627-7664 Check out the TABI resource web page at http://acorange.home.comcast.net/TABI and please make suggestions for new material. if you'd like to unsubscribe you can do so through the freelists.org web interface, or by sending an email to the address tabi-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word "unsubscribe" in the subject.