Wednesday, May 19, 2010

State of Good Repair Funding Announced

Federal Transit Administration (FTA)
FTA announces up to $775 million for state of good repair projects “to finance capital projects to replace, rehabilitate, and purchase buses and related equipment and to construct/rehabilitate bus-related facilities, including programs of bus and bus-related projects which may include assistance to subrecipients that are public agencies, private companies engaged in public transportation, or private non-profit organizations.” FTA recognizes the importance of transit to personal mobility, to the environment and to “energy sustainability” as well as the dismal financial situation in which many transit systems find themselves. More information is available at

Secretary Speaks to Congress about Livability for all Communities

Department of Transportation(DOT)

On May 6, 2010, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood testified before the Senate appropriations subcommittee about livable communities. He specifically addressed rural areas in terms of pedestrian friendliness, transportation options, and the threat to farmland of suburban sprawl. The Secretary gave the example of Bath, Maine.

Bath is a small town in southwest Maine whose historic downtown area is a model of a livable community. The town provides two trolley loops to transport residents and tourists through downtown, reducing the need for on-street parking. Bath’s street design encourages citizens to get out of their cars, which in turn supports local merchants through increased foot traffic.

The Secretary for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also spoke and stated that HUD is “looking at creating a separate, special funding category for small towns and rural places [in preparation for] the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the FY 2010 Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant funds.” Their testimony can be found at

Widespread Support for Livable Communities Act

Community Transportation Association of America
National Association of Development Organizations
National Association of Regional Councils
CTAA participated in a Congressional briefing about livability for rural communities. In a letter to the Senate Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation and Community Development, CTAA, along with Consortium partners NADO and NARC, and Transportation for America, the National League of Cities, and the National Association of Counties, expressed their support of the principles embraced in the Livable Communities Act (S. 1619), which will “promote[] regionally-based and locally-driven efforts to better integrate transportation, housing, environmental, land use and economic development initiatives.” However, the letter did not express an endorsement of the Act.
The Livable Communities Act provides new incentives and resources for local leaders to craft and implement comprehensive regional sustainable development strategies. The legislation is a major step forward in recognizing that pressing community issues such as economic competitiveness, environmental stewardship, housing affordability and access, transportation mobility and quality of place are often regional in nature and require a comprehensive and coordinated approach. These issues are of universal concern to communities regardless of shape, size, scale or location. Our nation’s small urban and rural communities have as much opportunity to benefit from implementing regional strategies for sustainable development as our largest metropolitan communities.

A New Path for Consortium and Related News

The Express Stop derives from my father's preference to live near an express stop in Brooklyn instead of a local station. I grew up with a sense of good fortune and rapid transit, which lasts to this day. Instead of a long newsletter, I will be publishing short posts with resources, news, and legislation that track developments in the worlds of public and human services transportation, with forays into livability, smart growth and alternative modes. 

I work at the National Resource Center for Humans Service Transportation Coordination (NRC), housed at the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA). Next week is our annual EXPO conference in Long Beach, Calif. Be sure to look for my sessions on Transportation's Role in Livable Communities, and
Gimmick or Workable Strategy? Zero Fare Systems and Strategies. Also on the agenda are workshops about mobility management and one-call services. Plus, wonderful people and sunny California.