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June 30, 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 fastmail@ctaa.org.

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Around the Depot

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

  • CTAA's Small Urban Conference Small Urban, Big Vision and Innovation: Two Days with Peers Discussing Topics that Matter to You
    Join your colleagues from small-urban areas across the nation in Denver from August 12-14, 2015 for the first CTAA Small Urban Network (SUN) conference designed solely with the needs of small-urban transit in mind. This two-day event will focus on building community partnerships, ridership and community engagement, planning and handling increased ridership and service expansions, policy and funding, technology, and much more. There are no registration fees to participate in this unique opportunity to tap like-minded small urban agency peers from all over the country who have "been there, done that." Contact CTAA Communications Director Scott Bogren at bogren@ctaa.org or 202.247.1921 with any questions.
  • EXPO Workshop Presentations Online
    We have collected many of the presentations from the EXPO Workshops. If there was a class you missed or you want to get a refresher on the ones you were in, they are now available on the Workshops page.
  • Next Edition of DigitalCT: The Oregon Transit Tour
    Our next issue of DigitalCT Magazine will be the annual installment of our transit tour, visiting a range of community and public transportation providers across a given state. This year, we explore Oregon home to EXPO 2016 in Portland - and hope to capture some of the trends, nuances and innovations in a state known as one of the prime incubators of mobility ideas.

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The Capitol Limited

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

  • Senate Committee on Appropriations Approves FY2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations Bill
    The Senate Committee on Appropriations has approved the FY2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations Bill, making the $55.65 billion measure available for consideration by the Senate. The bill, approved 20-10, includes funding for the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and other related agencies. Working within the framework of the Budget Control Act, the bill provides funding for transportation and infrastructure priorities, and endeavors to increase the efficiency and affordability of federal housing programs.
  • CTAA Responds to Senate Finance Committee Working Group's Request for Chronic Care Solutions (PDF)
    CTAA recently analyzed which Medicaid beneficiaries use of Medicaid NEMT and the findings should assist your discussions. The analysis (attached) found that the majority of current Medicaid NEMT services are for regularly scheduled, NEMT trips for individuals requiring transportation to coordinated care for behavioral health services, substance abuse treatment and dialysis services. Thus, the majority of Medicaid NEMT rides are more than a transportation subsidy to low-income patients. The Medicaid NEMT benefit has become an integral part of a coordinated care plan for Medicaid beneficiaries with chronic health care needs.
  • FTA Proposes Rule to Improve Testing Safety, Reliability of New Transit Buses
    Source: U.S. DOT
    The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (PDF) that would improve the process for testing the safety and reliability of new transit buses funded with federal dollars. The proposed rule would establish minimum performance standards, a new pass-fail grading system for bus testing, and a weighted scoring process that would better assist local transit agencies in purchasing an appropriate vehicle. In addition, the proposed rule would clarify and improve verification of two Departmental regulations: the Buy America requirements that have stimulated American manufacturing of transit vehicles, components and related technology; and the rules that support businesses owned by women and minorities (Disadvantaged Business Enterprises) throughout the supply chain.

The Community Transportation Flyer

Updates from community and public transportation systems from across the country

  • Countywide Rural Transit System in McLennan County (Texas) starts July 1
    Source: Waco Tribune
    A new rural transit service promises to greatly improve connectivity between Waco and its outskirts. Starting July 1, any county resident outside of Waco Transit's current fixed route system can arrange for a McLennan County Rural Transit District van to pick them up and take them anywhere in a six-county area. The fare schedule is not final but has been proposed at $3 per in-county trip or $5 for trips that cross county lines. The service isn't just for the disabled or elderly but can be used to get to college classes, jobs or errands. It will be available not only to rural areas but to suburban areas such as Bellmead, China Spring, Lorena and Woodway.
  • Univ. of Georgia Transit Officials Considering Purchase of Electric Buses
    Source: Athens Banner-Herald
    University of Georgia bus stops might soon become considerably less noisy and more environmentally friendly. UGA officials are considering replacing part of the university's bus fleet with electric buses. Such a bus visited the UGA campus recently as a kind of demonstration while on a promotion tour throughout the Southeast. "It was a pretty nice ride," said UGA campus transit director Ron Hamlin. "It was smooth and quiet. There was no engine noise at all." UGA could buy 16 of the vehicles if the federal Department of Transportation approves an $11.5 million UGA grant application, Hamlin said. UGA would add $5 million to the grant.
  • Community Partners Chip In to Expand Bend (Ore.) Transit Service
    Source: KTVZ
    The Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council announced a partnership Friday that once approved by the agency's board, with final input from community members, would add $3.4 million over the next three years for Bend fixed-routes. The partners - the city of Bend, St. Charles Health System, OSU-Cascades, COCC, Deschutes County, Bend Chamber of Commerce, Bend MPO, and Bend Parks and Rec - have coordinated a short-term plan that would better meet community needs with more robust transit service in Bend. The proposed Bend Transit Expansion would be a dramatic increase in service improving transit in Bend and the region. Proposed service would expand operation hours to 8 p.m., add three new routes, and increase bus frequency. Additionally, access would be improved to the Bend medical district, the proposed OSU-Cascades Campus, and COCC.
  • Victor Valley Transit Authority (Calif.) to Increase Budget, Expand Services
    Source: Victory Valley Daily Press
    The Victor Valley Transit Authority is poised to increase services in the upcoming fiscal year, especially after an expected merger with the Barstow Area Transit. The governing board approved a $23 million budget for 2015-16, compared to the previous year's budget of $19.5 million, but Executive Director Kevin Kane said net operating expenses are up merely $76,000. The increased budget also will support growing demand for Americans with Disabilities Act services and a scheduled 3 percent annual increase for VVTA's operations and maintenance contractor, Transdev. The authority is looking to support a boost in vanpool operations by 11 percent, up from 200 operating today to 220. The budget is boosted by $1 million over last year because some money went unused in 2013-14 that was used last year, Riggs said. He said in his presentation that vanpool subsidies run $400 a month for each van. The VVTA also is expanding Mobility Management Programs, increasing support for Lifeline Service to the San Bernardino Valley and continuing discounts for Victor Valley College students along with veterans and military personnel.
  • Pretzel City Area Transit (Ill.) to Continue Service as Ridership Grows
    Source: Journal-Standard
    Affordable public transportation will be available for at least one more year to Stephenson County residents, pending approval of a bus contract from the board of directors of the Senior Resource Center of Stephenson and Jo Daviess Counties. The two provide countywide public transportation through Pretzel City Area Transit. Ridership nearly doubled during the first six months of the partnership. The service provided about 39,000 rides during the 2013 and 2014 fiscal years. From July 1 to Dec. 31, 2014, 34,000 rides were provided. In May, Senior Resource Center Director Sue Lambert said projected numbers suggest that 65,000 rides will be administered in the first year of the merger.
  • WAVE Transit (N.C.) Adds Two CNG Buses to Fleet
    Source: Port City Daily
    Wilmington's WAVE Transit recently added two new compressed natural gas (CNG) buses, and with City Council recently approving more than $300,000 in additional funding, the transit authority expects to receive four more buses by the end of the year. WAVE transit's new $13.5 million Castle Hayne facility, which was finished in February and will become populated by bus drivers and staff within the next few weeks, is the hub for the CNG buses and is capable of fueling up to 20 CNG buses at one time.
  • Wilf Community Connects (N.J.) Provides Rides to Events
    Source: my Central Jersey
    Seniors who are unable to drive or are house-bound will be excited to learn that they can be transported, door to door and free of charge, to attend Jewish community events and other activities thanks to Wilf Community Connects, a program funded by the Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey. "Transportation is the area of greatest unmet need among senior," said Laura Safran, the Federation's director of community impact. "The Federation is working to determine gaps in services and identify the most viable and sustainable solutions keeps seniors social, connected to community, and able to receive health care and other needed services.
  • Luzerne County Council (Pa.) OKs Funding for Hazleton Public Transit
    Source: Standard Speaker
    Luzerne County Council will support the public transit system in Hazleton. County council members voted unanimously to allocate $141,063 to Hazleton Public Transit, which will use the money as a "local match" for state funding and for making capital purchases, said Ralph Sharp, Hazleton's transit director. Sharp and city council President Jack Mundie have publicly lobbied county council in recent weeks to award an allocation to Hazleton's transit program this year, especially since the county denied a similar request a year ago.
  • 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.

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The Whistle Stop

Commentary and analysis on developments in community and public transportation

  • Transportation is Top Need for Seniors Calling for Help
    Source: USA Today
    When the phone rings at the national call center for elder care services, there is a good bet the caller is an older woman looking for a ride. The national Eldercare Locator - a referral service providing information about care resources available in communities around the country - released a first-time report on the 271,000 calls it received last year, showing that 19% of all calls were about transportation issues, and the overwhelming majority of callers were women.
  • Time to Rethink Transportation Funding Beyond the Car
    Source: Arizona Republic
    We need to work with our legislators to develop an alternative to gas-tax revenues to pay for highway construction. An interesting possibility being explored in Oregon is a road-usage charge based on actual vehicle miles, which will eventually replace gas-tax revenue as a source for highway funding. We must work with our legislators to develop separate funding sources to support other forms of mobility. This might start out, for example, with an annual bicycle registration user fee. Finally, I'm hoping it is obvious that we will need some new leadership for this initiative that is: A: regional; B: public sector and private sector; C. able to get things done across municipal boundaries.

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 http://training.ctaa.org 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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Contact

Richard Sampson
Communications Specialist
Community Transportation and RAIL Magazines
800.891.0590 x729
202.415.9666