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Challenges and Opportunities: A National Perspective on the Public Transit Industry Today

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Global issues are impacting local decisions like never before. The Country’s nationally recognized leaders in public transportation candidly discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the public …

Global issues are impacting local decisions like never before. The Country’s nationally recognized leaders in public transportation candidly discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the public transit industry today. This national perspective set the stage for timely discussions about how to forge strong local, state and national partnerships to better serve our communities.


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  • 1. Challenges and Opportunities: A National Perspective on the Public Transit Industry Today Ron Epstein Chair, ASC Transit Legislative Team Vice-Chair, AASHTO Standing Committee on Public Transportation New York State Department of Transportation
  • 2. AASHTO’s Transit Legislative Guiding Principles
    • Restore a strong federal partnership and an integrated multi-modal approach to sustain future economic and population growth in our urban and rural areas
    • Establish national transit supportive policies to enable a doubling of ridership to more than 20 billion by 2030
    • To keep pace with rising demand for rural public transportation, federal funding for the rural transit program should more than double over the next six year authorization period
    • Authorize the maximum guaranteed investment levels in the federal transit program over the six year authorization period (no less than $99.8 billion), with a goal of meeting at least 50% of the estimated annual capital needs by 2015
  • 3. Oberstar Bill/Surface Transportation Authorization Act (STAA) of 2009
    • STAA recommends $450 billion investment in surface transportation programs
    • Including $99.8 billion for public transportation programs
      • 90 percent increase over SAFETEA-LU levels
    • Proposal does not address where increased revenues will come from to finance the program
  • 4. Oberstar Bill/Surface Transportation Authorization Act (STAA) of 2009
    • Increases share of federal program for transit to 23 percent
      • From 80/20 to 77/23
      • Reduces general fund contribution from 20% to 12.5%
  • 5. Oberstar Bill/Surface Transportation Authorization Act (STAA) of 2009
    • Three recurring themes:
      • Vision – long term
      • Opportunities – short-term
      • Unintended consequences
  • 6. Oberstar Bill/Surface Transportation Authorization Act (STAA) of 2009
    • Vision/Opportunities:
    • Retains strong federal partnership
    • Begins national dialogue on transit supportive policies
    • Restores purchasing power of Mass transit Account (MTA) of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF)
    • Recognizes environmental and climate change benefits of public transportation
    • Retains major FTA categorical programs
    • Preserves existing federal match ratios
  • 7. Oberstar Bill/Surface Transportation Authorization Act (STAA) of 2009
    • Unintended Consequences/Areas of Concern
    • Operating Assistance
    • Office of Expedited Project Delivery (OPED)
    • Reporting/Performance Targets
    • Bus/Bus Facility Program (Bus Discretionary)
    • Coordinated Access and Mobility Program (CAMP)
    • FHWA - Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ)
    • FHWA - Surface Transportation Program (STP)
  • 8. Oberstar Bill/Surface Transportation Authorization Act (STAA) of 2009
    • Not addressed:
    • Funding Title/Formula Factors
    • Provisions to Simplify/Streamline Grant Administration/ Approval process
    • Permanent Parity Provision for Commuter Choice
    • Amendments the FTA Charter Rule/Regionally significant Activities/Events (NYS Fair)
    • Permanent Extension of Current Gasoline Gallon Equivalent (GGE) Tax Credit for Alternative Fuel
  • 9. Continuing Existing/Forging New Partnerships
    • Working Collaboratively with:
    • Key House/Senate Staff
    • State DOT CEOs
    • FTA
    • APTA
    • CTAA
    • U.S. Chamber of Commerce
    • Other
  • 10.
    • Ron Epstein, Director
    • Chief Financial Officer
    • New York State Department of Transportation
    • 50 Wolf Road, POD 5-4
    • Albany, New York 12232
    • (518) 457-8362
    • [email_address]
    Questions??