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October 5, 2015

About Fast Mail

Fast Mail is a compilation from the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) 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



Around the Depot

New products, documents, upcoming events and training from CTAA's staff

  • New DigitalCT Edition Arriving This Week: Top Innovators of 2015
    Stay tuned to your inboxes later this week for our next issue of DigitalCT Magazine, which will feature some of the top innovators in community and public transportation. We’ll look at a variety of elements of innovative leadership, ranging from management style and organizational strategies to building partnerships, conducting outreach and pioneering use of technology
  • STAR Awards Application opens October 6
    The 2015 STAR Awards program will celebrate excellence in providing volunteer transportation to passengers. The program is organized by the National Volunteer Transportation Center (NVTC), an initiative of the Community Transportation Association of America, and is sponsored by Toyota. In addition to cash awards for programs of excellence, a 2015 Toyota Prius will be awarded to the program that submits the outstanding application. The application will open on Oct. 6 and close on Oct. 25.
  • Next Edition of RAIL Magazine: Shifting Trends in Intercity & Regional Passenger Rail
    Intercity passenger rail in the United States – nearly exclusively provided by Amtrak – has never been more popular, with ridership at record levels. With more passengers comes new ideas on how to provide more service and a growing role for operators beyond Amtrak. We'll explore where intercity and passenger rail are right now and where they're headed.
  • Learn More About CTAA's Enterprise Rideshare Initiative
    Have you ever considered using vanpools as part of your transit services? Does the lack of federal, state or local funds prevent you from trying vanpools? If your answer to any of these questions is Yes, then CTAA's new cooperative partnership with Enterprise Rideshare is of critical importance to you. CTAA members can take advantage of our finance and management services to try a new approach to using vanpools as part of your mobility solutions. If you're already using vanpools our effort may help you improve your existing services as well. Building successful vanpool programs in local communities raises many questions. How many people will be interested? How will riders be recruited, replaced or managed? How will these services be paid? We have the answers.


TripSpark Technologies

The Capitol Limited

News on federal transportation policy and developments from the Nation's Capital

  • GAO: Updated Guidance and Expanded Federal Authority Could Facilitate Bus Procurement
    Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office
    Transit agency officials GAO spoke with identified a range of challenges they face when procuring buses. Those challenges include difficulties in complying with federal procurement requirements. For example, officials reported that it is time consuming to comply with a requirement to certify that at least 60 percent of the bus's components are made in the U.S. because the agency must conduct pre- and post-award reviews of bus manufacturers. Transit agency officials in four of six discussion groups also identified the procurement process as difficult and resource-intensive, particularly for those transit agencies that do not purchase buses each year and may lack procurement capacity. Transit agency officials in four of six discussion groups stated these challenges could be addressed by allowing agencies access to General Services Administration's (GSA) sources of supply.
  • U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright Introduces Transit Bus Procurement Act of 2015 (PDF)
    The Community Transportation Association supports Congressman Cartwright's legislation to help smaller transit providers overcome bus procurement challenges. While the Association believes there are many potential solutions to bus capital needs, Rep. Cartwright's measure offers an additional option. To contact Rep. Cartwright's office to express your support, contact Deputy Chief of Staff & Legislative Director Jeremy Marcus at or 202.225.5546. A one-page briefing document on the Transit Bus Procurement Act can be found here and the full legislation is available here.

The Community Transportation Flyer

Updates from community and public transportation systems from across the country

  • Grant Helps St. Joe Transit (Mo.) Offer New Program
    Source: St. Joe Channel
    New grant money will allow St. Joseph Transit to better assist people using city transportation. St. Joe Transit received $100,000 in grant money to fund its new Travel Ambassadors Program. The program will focus on assisting seniors and people with disabilities who utilize the transit system. The money will be used to hire part-time employees to train users.
  • Groundbreaking for Alton (Ill.) Regional Multi-Modal Transportation Center Marks Historic Moment
    Source: Riverbender
    Immense excitement was in the air at the groundbreaking for the new Alton Regional Multi-Modal Transportation Center along Homer Adams Parkway. The groundbreaking was well attended by nearly every key area federal, state and local politician. There were many representatives from government, labor organizations, community groups and businesses. Alton Mayor Brant Walker said Monday was definitely "historic" for the city and the region. He said the new 9,000-square-foot Alton Regional Multi-Modal Transportation Center, "will be ten times larger than the existing station, possesses upgraded amenities, shall serve as an important entry point to our community and state, and will be a catalyst for the development of the remaining 33 acres here at the Robert Wadlow Town Centre."
  • Task Force Addresses Kenai (Ala.) Transit Challenges
    Source: Peninsula Clarion
    Because the peninsula is so large, traditional bus systems like those in other municipalities may not be an option. Cabs can be expensive, and with often rainy or snowy weather, biking or walking is not always an option. The main public transportation system, the Central Area Rural Transit System, provides rides anywhere in the western peninsula from Nikiski to Kasilof, but can also be pricey. For example, to travel between Kenai and Soldotna requires three punches on the organization's punch card system, which costs $50 for a 20-punch card. Rides must also be reserved the day before. The result is that many organizations, such as Frontier Community Services in Soldotna, end up paying thousands of dollars every year to transport patients to and from appointments.
  • Summit Addresses Brentwood (Tenn.) Growth, Need for Public Transportation
    Source: Brentwood Home Page
    Williamson County is expected to double in size in the next 20 years, leading to a population of more than 400,000 residents and creating a need for improvements to public transportation. According to the most recent data, Williamson's millennial population has surpassed the baby boomer population. The median age in Williamson County is 38.9. During the next 10 years the senior population age 65 and older should see the largest growth as Williamson County is ranked the 10th best place to retire in the nation. Williamson County also has the lowest unemployment rate in Tennessee, with employment having increased more than 25 percent in the past five years alone.
  • Mountain Metro Transit Services Give Colorado Springs Seniors Leg Up on Health, Independence
    Source: The Gazette
    We've always done it bigger in the West, but urban sprawl and demand for more roads, wider lanes and multiple family vehicles has its downfalls, especially for Colorado Springs seniors. "We've been building our cities for cars for 60 years, and it's left many of our seniors isolated in their neighborhoods and suburbs," said Angel Bond, mobility manager for the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging. Bond works with Mountain Metropolitan Transit (MMT) to ensure there are viable transportation options for our community's seniors, including a Senior Ambassador Program that pairs volunteers with seniors new to public transit, allowing them time to learn the system alongside a trained assistant.
  • Tulsa Transit (Okla.) Looks At Expansion Proposal
    Source: News On 6
    Tulsa Transit is making a new effort to expand service and shorten the wait for a bus. The transit service is asking the city council to help match federal funding that could cut the average wait to 30 minutes and add service on Sundays. MTTA says it would take $14.5 million a year to build up the service to that level.
  • Blue Water Area Transit (Mich.) Bus Hub To Be Completed This Fall
    Source: WTOL
    Construction of a new $9.8 million Blue Water Area Transit bus hub in Port Huron is scheduled to be completed this fall. The Times Herald of Port Huron reports the facility's grand opening is planned for Nov. 9. Blue Water Area Transit general manager Jim Wilson says the 7,400-square-foot facility's outer walls and windows are close to finished and its canopy is partially up. Wilson says the project is coming in about $300,000 under budget. About 70 percent of the project's cost came from federal funds. One of the transfer facility's two buildings will house retail and training space for clients of St. Clair County Community Mental Health.
  • Public Transit is a Missing ingredient in Sarpy, Nebraska's Fastest-Growing County
    Source: Omaha World-Herald
    Sarpy County is the fastest-growing county in the state, with nearly 175,000 people, but it still has a dearth of public transit options to move people among its five cities. There is such a need that PayPal, one of the county's largest employers, set up its own free bus ride program earlier this year to attract new employees to its La Vista offices. A shuttle carries employees between the company and transit hubs in north and South Omaha.
  • Western Pa. Political, Business Leaders Launch Regional Transportation Alliance
    Source: Tribune Media
    Political and business leaders from the 10-county Western Pennsylvania region began a planning initiative Wednesday to find transportation solutions tailored to community needs. Lawrence County Commissioner Steve Craig, who is co-chairing the Regional Transportation Alliance of Southwestern Pennsylvania, said the need for consensus is greater as transportation evolves into the 21st century with different modes, technology and services, such as bikes, driverless cars and Uber.
  • Transit study launches in New Haven (Conn.)
    Source: Yale Daily News
    City officials and community members gathered Tuesday evening to kick off a new transit study, with many attendees hoping the findings will bring federally funded transportation projects to the Elm City. Funded primarily by the Federal Transit Administration, the $950,000 Alternatives Analysis study will document the status of New Haven's current public transportation system. The study will also consider the feasibility of realigning bus routes, improving bus-train connections and creating a centralized transit center.
  • Follow Us on Twitter!
    For all the latest transit industry updates including local system highlights, federal and legislative news follow @CTMag1 and @RAILmag on twitter.


CTAA and Newtek

The Porter's Station

Technical assistance resources, documents and events, including webinars, conferences and training

  • Funding Opportunity: The Knight Cities Challenge
    Source: Knight Cities
    The Knight Cities Challenge seeks new ideas from innovators who will take hold of the future of our cities. Over the next four weeks we are inviting applicants from across the nation to tell us their ideas for making the 26 Knight cities more vibrant places to live and work. From a pool of $5 million, we're looking to award grants at the city, neighborhood and block level, and all sizes in between.
  • Training: Transit Maintenance Leadership Workshop
    Source: National Transit Institute
    The National Transit Institute (NTI) is pleased to announce the development of this new professional development opportunity, created specifically for senior-level public transit maintenance leaders. You must apply and be accepted to attend this workshop. Costs to attend this workshop are: Tuition - $2,095 tuition, includes lunch; Accommodation, includes complimentary breakfast. The acceptance letter details the hotel name, location, and reservation information; Dinner; Any other travel expenses (airfare, ground transportation, etc.). he workshop will be held Dec. 7-11 in Dallas, Texas.

The Whistle Stop

Commentary and analysis on developments in community and public transportation

  • Without Transit, American Cities Would Take Up 37 Percent More Space
    Source: Streetsblog USA
    Even if you never set foot on a bus or a train, chances are transit is saving you time and money. The most obvious reason is that transit keeps cars off the road, but the full explanation is both less intuitive and more profound: Transit shrinks distances between destinations, putting everything within closer reach. A new study published by the Transportation Research Board quantifies the spatial impact of transit in new ways. Without transit, the researchers found, American cities would take up 37 percent more space.
  • Transit Plays Key Role in Wisconsin
    Source: Lacrosse Tribune
    Wisconsin Transit Week, Oct. 5-11, is a great time to recognize the important role public transportation plays in our community's economy, environment and quality of life. From providing transportation to students, to expanding job and educational opportunities, to allowing our aging parents to stay mobile, public transit benefits us all. Public transit options in Wisconsin include buses, rural shared-ride taxi services, and the specialized paratransit and medical transportation companies, which offer mobility and freedom to elderly and disabled citizens. Together, these transit services provide urban centers and small communities alike with affordable and convenient alternatives to car travel. Wisconsin's transit systems help ease traffic congestion, improve air quality, reduce gasoline consumption, create economic opportunity and enhance our state's quality of life.

The Information Station

Resources from CTAA

  • Tip-Sheet: Planning Inclusive Meetings (PDF)(159 KB)
    We offer this short list to encourage you to think about similar tips and reminders as you begin planning a meeting; and a checklist for seeking out meeting locations. We also offer some suggestions for short-term solutions, and, encourage you to find meeting places that are more welcoming or to seek long-term solutions to some of the problems.
  • Ahead of the Curve: CTAA's Safety Training Programs Lead the Way
    For community and public transportation operators safety has always been the priority. Recent action by the Congress to include new transit safety requirements in the latest surface transportation law reinforces this industry-wide commitment. To help transit agencies further meet their system safety goals and come into compliance with the forthcoming federal transit guidelines, CTAA has launched the Community Transportation Safety and Security Accreditation (CTSSA) program.

PASS LogoPASS Training is Now Available Online!
The Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) is excited to announce PASS Basic, the online alternative to its passenger assistance training. Simply by going to you can access the virtual classroom experience through six audio/visual modules which will prepare your drivers to attend the hands-on aspect of PASS training and attain full PASS driver certification.

  • Strengthening Inclusive Coordinated Transportation Partnerships to Promote Community Living
    The mission of this project, sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Community Living is to demonstrate the value that inclusive processes can bring to transportation efforts. The Community Transportation Association of America, in partnership with Easter Seals, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, and Westat, is developing, testing and demonstrating ways to empower people with disabilities and older adults to be actively involved in designing and implementing coordinated transportation systems.
  • Certified Safety and Security Officer Program
    Also, learn more about CTAA's safety training programs. The mission of this Certified Safety and Security Officer Program is to assist in improving the professional preparedness of public and community transportation officers, and to maximize their ability to provide safe and secure transit service.
  • The Competitive Edge: Making Community and Public Transit the Best Alternative for Medical Transportation: Today there is never-before-seen complexity in the non-emergency medical transportation field. Limited funding combined with growing patient loads has states seeking intermediaries that can control costs through competition. Community and public transportation providers must become efficient, safe, cost-effective and accountable to maintain these important medical transportation services. The Community Transportation Association, in response to requests from its members, is introducing a new initiative -- the Competitive Edge -- which will give community and public transit providers the tools, resources and benefits they need to make them central players in this new medical transportation environment.

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Richard Sampson
Communications Specialist
Community Transportation and RAIL Magazines
800.891.0590 x729