Tuesday, June 1, 2010

FTA Administrator Rogoff Speaks at CTAA EXPO

Just a word before going to Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff's May 26 speech to EXPO attendees. In terms of social media, this is already late anyway, but I am still in LA mode and on West Coast time. EXPO in Long Beach, experiencing LA-area public transit and playing on Pacific Ocean beaches were all incredible. To meet the people I speak to and serve all year, whose interests I try to keep close each day at work, is the most rewarding part of the conference. These community leaders, transit providers and regional representatives are doing as much as they can with whatever they have to transport people where they need and want to go. Someone getting off of a paratransit vehicle to go the movies in Long Beach, a busload of culture vultures arriving by bus at the Getty Museum, and personally walking all over LA, which was surprisingly pedestrian friendly for a native New Yorker, were the mobility highlights outside the Convention Center.

Now a week ago at lunch, Rogoff contrasted the purchase of 11,000 new vehicles with ARRA funds and the serious financial straits of transportation providers. He asks transit and human services transportation operators "[t]o comment on our [Department of Transportation] strategic plan and where you think it speaks to what you need and what you do and where it doesn't." Rogoff emphasized the link between the state of good repair and safety. As someone traveling on the DC Metro red line on the day when nine people died right near my station, good repair and emergency preparedness are the non-glamorous, but necessary, aspects of transit service.

Rogoff promised that safety/good repair funding will not just go to rail operators or to urban systems. "[P]utting together a formula program for bus, and sending it to bus operators on a formula basis, specifically for the State of Good Repair, will provide a predictable formula amount that every bus operator can count on going forward."

Rogoff specifically pointed out the achievements of CTAA in helping to bring service to all people and especially to transportation-challenged populations. "The progress we are making is in part because of our partnership with CTAA and your efforts with job links and national resource center on human service transportation coordination (NRC)." Rogoff mentioned the Institute for Transportation Coordination, the Transportation Solutions Coordinator training, developed by CTAA and Easter Seals Project ACTION, the ten NRC ambassadors, and the United We Ride initiative.

The NRC provides support to the Federal Coordination Council on Access & Mobility (CCAM),which, Rogoff announced, will have an expanded agenda with emphasis on access to jobs, routine and preventative medical care, and assistance for returning veterans. The online national dialogue held in November 2009 will inform that agenda.

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