Monday, June 27, 2011

Joint Actions, Legislation and FTA Update

American Public Health Association
APHA has 10 Public Health and Equity Principles for Transportation, which include increased funding for community transportation, transportation for mobility-challenged populations, multi-modal infrastructure and planning, and reducing carbon emissions. Signatories include the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) as well as pedestrian and biking advocates, and public health and medical associations.

Inter-Agency Partnership for Sustainable Communities

Smart Growth America announces the 50 organizations that sent a joint letter to the Senate leadership for appropriations and transportation urging funding for the inter-agency partnership for sustainable communities. Those 50 include the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (N4A), the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO), and the Amalgamated Transit Union, all members of the National Consortium on the Coordination of Human Services Transportation, as well as organizations devoted to planning, the environment, health and transportation equity.

Federal Transit Administration
FTA has released federal register notices of funding opportunities with deadlines this summer.
* State of good repair funds for buses and bus facilities - deadline July 29.
* Discretionary Sustainability Funding Opportunity Transit Investments - deadline Aug. 23. The funds are specifically for the Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) Program and Clean Fuels Grant Program, Augmented With Discretionary Bus and Bus Facilities Program.
* Discretionary livability funding - deadline July 29. The programs involved are Section 5309 Bus and Bus Facilities Livability Initiative Program Grants and Section 5339 Alternatives Analysis Program.

FTA also announced apportionment of new starts and small starts funds. These go beyond coast to coast to serve places unconnected to the mainland, including Alaskan and Hawaiian ferries and the Second Avenue subway in Manhattan.

Another funding announcement made recently was the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Advance Notice of Requirements for HUD’s FY11 Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program, which will provide an additional $67 million for building sustainable communities throughout the country.

Convenient Places to Live and Work

American Public Transportation Association
APTA helped craft the listing of today's 10 most convenient cities, as measured by transit access and walkability. In addition to the obvious ones of New York, Chicago, Seattle, Boston and Portland, there is also Milwaukee and Los Angeles.

Enthusiastic Legislative Support

National Council on Independent Living
NCIL is strongly endorsing and working for independent living (IL) legislation pending in Congress. The IL provisions within the reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act would create an IL Administration, which would not require any new or additional funding, but would streamline the IL Program and enhance consumer-control. This new entity would be independent of the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) within the Department of Education.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Resources to Dump the Pump

American Public Transportation Association
Remind your constituencies to participate in National Dump the Pump Day, Thursday, June 16. Secretary LaHood is encouraging people to take transit that day and save money, reduce "our nation's dependence on foreign oil," and "discover an economical, comfortable, stress-free option for getting around that they hadn't considered before." More information is available from APTA, which has materials for promoting and publicizing Dump the Pump Day, including button templates, sample proclamations and suggested activities.

Community Transportation Association of America
CTAA joins with Families USA and other groups to support the Medicaid program and oppose the suggested transformation of Medicaid into a block grant program. "Medicaid is an important program for many public and community transportation systems around the country and the Association feels strongly that it must be protected in the ongoing budget debates in Washington," said CTAA Executive Director Dale J. Marsico, CCTM.

NRC Capitol Clips
explains how a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding programs offer opportunities for transportation options and mobility management efforts. Deadlines are coming up at the end of June and mid-July.

Big City Resources are Transferable

Okay, Brooklyn is not the first place in the country to post or allow posting of bus arrival times or to arrange for text messages to riders and smartphone access to a transit authority website, but a New York TV station did a nice little video about how the bus arrival notification system works. For Brooklynites, the information will mean a few more minutes to shop, but I think this type of system, which depends on business owners as much as the transit system because shops display bus arrival times in their windows, has even more potential for rural riders. With headways of an hour being common, people would be able to not only have time to shop, but to alert babysitters and bosses of delays, perhaps even to sit down somewhere and use an extra fifteen minutes to get something else done instead of looking up the road for the bus.

San Fransisco is utilizing its army of riders to send notices of what needs fixing. First, the transit agency asked for text messages about graffiti and vandalism locations and now it is about to unroll the same type of service for problems with cleanliness and security. Again, these are issues as much for rural as urban transit systems. In fact, this type of communication with riders probably would be more significant for a small operation with limited resources.

For these two stories, I am grateful to the Transit Wire, which I read each day. It is mostly technology/transit stories related to large urban systems, but it sometimes features small urban systems and their innovations, such as the recent start of free wifi on buses in Missoula, Mont.