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December 16, 2014

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

  • Stay Tuned: New Issue of DigitalCT - Pathways to Success
    Later this month, the next issue of DigitalCT Magazine will be a data-driven look at the current state of community and public transportation followed by quick snapshots of innovators and leaders and finished with how CTAA and its products and services can help you. Stay tuned to your inboxes for this important look at where we're heading and how we'll get there.
  • Review Options & Approaches for Mobility Management
    The beginning of a new year offers opportunities for transportation agencies and mobility management programs to review their services and funding. The National Center for Mobility Management's (NCMM) Funding and Financing page provides resources to help you review options and determine the best approach for your agency. Interested in improving mobility for people with disabilities and older adults? Sign up for a Webinar on Dec. 18 by Easter Seals Project ACTION on strategies for using Sect. 5310 funds.
  • Introducing CTAA's Newest Product: The Vanpool Works (PDF)(2.6 MB)
    Introducing CTAA's newest product launch: The Vanpool Works - a way to create a self-supporting employment transportation business as part of the mobility services you already offer. If you're looking to do things differently, The Vanpool Works is a great place to start.
  • Take Advantage of CTAA's Member Benefits!
    CTAA member benefits connect you to the strength of the Association's group buying power while providing savings to help your organization lower operating costs through exclusive member discounts on insurance rates at the Insurance Store at CTAA, background checks and employment screening, fuel savings cards and more. Take advantage of our member services to bring the strength of the Association's group buying power to meet your specific needs.
  • Vision of Coordinated Transportation Coming Together with CTAA Assistance
    Source: Seward Phoenix-LOG
    A huge step in coordinating public transportation in Seward happened last week when the representative of the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) met with the Seward Coordinated Transportation Committee (CTC) to put the vision together with the technical pieces. "We're working to coordinate the transportation resources in Seward, private and public, and make the best use of them without overlapping," Seward Senior Center Executive Director Dana Paperman, who spearheads CTC, told The LOG. CTAA is working with the committee to first define what the stakeholders want, which is what last week's mobility visioning workshop was about, then his group, the Rural Passenger Transportation Technical Assistance Program, begins preparing a report that describes how to pull current community resources together to make the most of what is in place and what resources may be needed.
  • Make Your Way to Tampa Bay for EXPO 2015
    It's not too early to start planning for EXPO 2015 in Tampa, Fla. The 29th Annual EXPO will be held in the Tampa Bay area for the first time from May 31-June 5, 2015. In the meantime, stay tuned to Fast Mail, DigitalCT Magazine and www.ctaa.org/expo for more details.

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The Capitol Limited

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

  • Spending Bill Increases Mass Transit Funding
    Source: Roll Call
    The $1.1 trillion spending bill unveiled Tuesday night includes important transportation policy provisions. Here's a brief summary: According to a summary from House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., the bill provides $2.3 billion for the Federal Transit Administration, an increase of $141 million over fiscal year 2014. The legislation also includes $8.6 billion in state and local transit grants from the Mass Transit Account of the Highway Trust Fund (what you pay your federal gasoline taxes into). And the measure has $500 million for the TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) program.
  • FTA Opens Comments on ADA Circular (PDF)
    Source: Federal Transit Administration
    FTA opened comments on seven new chapters for its proposed Americans with Disabilities Act Circular, on Nov. 12. The proposed circular would affect virtually every public transit operation. The comment due date is currently set at Jan. 12, 2015.
  • U.S. Department of Transportation Announces $5 Million to Improve Transit Options for American Indians, Alaska Natives on Tribal Lands
    Source: Federal Transit Administration
    The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced the availability of $5 million in competitive grant funds to enhance public transit service for American Indians, Alaska natives and other residents on rural tribal lands. Funding is provided through FTA's Public Transportation on Indian Reservations Tribal Transit Program. A Notice of Funding Availability appears in the Federal Register (PDF). Through FTA's Tribal Transit Program, competitively awarded FY2014 funds will allow tribes to continue operating or enhance existing transit service, launch new public transportation services, invest in new or replacement equipment, or plan for future transit needs. In FY2013, FTA funded 48 projects in 19 states totaling $5.04 million in discretionary grant funds to support public transportation services for tribal communities.
  • Medicare Tightens Non-Emergency Ambulance Use
    Source: Medpage Today
    Seniors living in three states will need prior approval from Medicare before they can get an ambulance to take them to cancer or dialysis treatments. The change, which begins today, is part of a 3-year pilot to combat extraordinarily high rates of fraudulent billing by ambulance companies in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and South Carolina. The good news is that Medicare beneficiaries in those states will now know beforehand whether the program will cover their non-emergency transportation to treatments. The bad news, say advocates, is that many fragile people will be left with no way to get to appointments that might mean the difference between life and death.

The Community Transportation Flyer

Updates from community and public transportation systems from across the country

  • California Grants $550 Million to Transit Projects Statewide
    Source: Streetsblog L.A.
    Caltrans announced over the holiday weekend that it has allocated one of the remaining chunks of money from Prop 1B, the massive transportation bond act approved by California voters in 2006. Over $550 million was awarded to transit capital projects throughout the state. The projects include building transit centers and bus stop facilities, replacing buses and rail cars, and building repair facilities. Large and small agencies received the funds.
  • New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority Adds Another 147 New MV-1's to its Access-A-Ride Fleet
    Source: PR Newswire
    Mobility Ventures is proud to announce that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), the mass transit provider serving the New York City metro area and the largest in the nation, has expanded its fleet of MV-1 wheelchair accessible vehicles with an additional order of 147 MV-1s. Delivery of these additional vehicles from the local MV-1 dealer, Alliance Bus Group, will bring the number of MV-1s in the MTA's paratransit fleet to 398 out of a total of approximately 2,000 vehicles - one-fifth of the entire fleet. Replacing small buses with the MV-1 in the MTA fleet has saved the MTA millions of dollars thanks the MV-1's greater fuel economy and reduced maintenance needs. This delivery represents the third order the MTA has placed for MV-1s.
  • Iowa DOT Study Has Officials Eyeing Intercity Bus Service, Ridematching
    Source: KCRG
    An express intercity bus service connecting Cedar Rapids, North Liberty, Coralville and Iowa City, and public ridematching software to better facilitate car and van pools are two preferred improvements identified in a preliminary draft of a yearlong study on commuting in Eastern Iowa. The Iowa DOT is working with HNTB, a Kansas City-based architectural and engineering firm, to finalize the Iowa Commuter Transportation Study and submit it to the Legislature by Dec. 15. The study has focused on Johnson, Linn, Benton, Jones, Iowa, Cedar and Washington counties.
  • Buses Expanding to Local Communities Due to Rochester (Minn.) Health Care Centers
    Source: KAAL TV
    Communities surrounding Rochester are in need of public transportation as they continue to grow, and state grants are making that happen. Thanks to a MnDOT grant, St. Charles, Dover, and Eyota will have a new means of public transportation this winter. This comes at good time, as southeastern Minnesota communities are expected to grow exponentially as a result of Destination Medical Center. Community members in the Kasson and Dodge Center area have been using their bus service for a few years now. The state funded Semcac's services, because of the growing need for public transportation. Now, a MnDOT grant will be funding a similar bus service in St. Charles, Dover, and Eyota.
  • Snohomish County (Wash.) Boosts Service for Seattle-bound Bus Commuters
    Source: Seattle Times
    As two-hour trips become commonplace for Snohomish County commuters going to Seattle, transit officials are taking small steps to adapt, by adding a few weekday buses. Longer travel times are pressuring people to leave their homes earlier for work. That worsens the crowds on early express trips - so much that bus drivers are sometimes leaving passengers behind, said Community Transit spokesman Martin Munguia. They board the next bus, which is also filled to standing-room only. Community Transit Chief Executive Officer Emmett Heath announced last week that the agency has added a morning trip on Route 412, from Silver Firs and McCollum Park to downtown Seattle. And on Sound Transit Route 510, which is operated by Community Transit from Everett Station to Seattle, the agencies agreed to add an extra bus.
  • Capital Area Transit (Pa.) Works to Finalize New West Shore Route
    Source: The Sentinel
    A new Capital Area Transit route through East Pennsboro Township that travels to the West Shore Hospital and Giant Food Store in Hamdpen Township will begin running Jan. 12, 2015. Robert Philbin, public information officer CAT, said the new route will focus primarily on employees, especially those who work at the hospital, but that the agency will revisit the route once ridership is established.
  • Lincoln County Transit (N.M.) Wins Ruidoso support
    Source: Ruidoso News
    With the good news that the Lincoln County Transit system is operating in the black, Ruidoso village councilors approved a new agreement with the city of Ruidoso Downs to contribute $28,000 toward the system's expenses in Fiscal Year 2015-16. "We all know the transit system is a vital part of the operation of our communities," said Ruidoso Downs Mayor Gary Williams. "Without it, we couldn't have the quality of life for our citizens, residents, and those (domestic violence victims) in the Nest. They would have no opportunity to move forward and have a life. Our senior citizens who don't have an ability to get out of their houses, cannot drive, don't have car, need transit to see doctors and go to seniors centers. Transit gives them some kind of quality of life beyond sitting home and watching television."
  • Kenai Peninsula (AK) Offers Volunteer Transportation Program to Cancer Patients
    Source: Peninsula Clarion
    Cancer patients lacking means of transportation in communities around the Kenai Peninsula will soon be able to attend their treatments more easily, thanks to the American Cancer Society's Road to Recovery program. The Road to Recovery program allows volunteer drivers to take patients to and from treatments when necessary. The program has been in Alaska for more than a decade in places such as Anchorage and Fairbanks, but the increase in cancer treatment centers on the Kenai Peninsula has led to more demand for the Road to Recovery Program in areas like Soldotna, Nikiski and Kenai, said Kathy Archey, a Mission Delivery Specialist for the American Cancer Society.
  • Community Partners in Greater Middlesex County (N.J.) to Give Seniors a Lift
    Source: New Jersey Jewish News
    Homebound seniors in Middlesex County in need of transportation to attend synagogue or other Jewish programming will be able to get a lift, thanks to a program that launched on Friday, Dec. 5. Wilf Community Connects is a partnership of agencies and synagogues collaborating through a $20,000 grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County. The federation allocation committee tapped Wilf Transport, a nonprofit community transportation program affiliated with the Oscar and Ella Wilf Campus for Senior Living in Somerset. It provides medical and social/quality of life transportation to seniors and adults with special needs living in Middlesex, Somerset, and eastern Union counties.
  • More Northwest Indiana Communities Want to Expand Public Transit
    Source: NWI Times
    Two years after the collapse of the Regional Bus Authority, region communities are pushing forward with public transit. A new "Triangle Service" is ready to start up in mid-January among Michigan City, LaPorte and Purdue University North Central, LaPorte TransPorte's Tom MacLennan told a meeting of the Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission's Transportation Policy Committee on Tuesday. The demonstration bus service is being funded for three years mainly with federal funds. Michigan City, LaPorte, LaPorte County and Purdue North Central are contributing local funds. In another sign of the growing interest in public transit, Hobart and Portage are both ready to embark on feasibility studies of instituting public transit, said NIRPC transit planner Belinda Petroskey.
  • Public Meeting Scheduled for Bessemer-Hoover (Ala.) Transit Commuter Service
    Source: The Birmingham News
    Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority officials will discuss the proposed route and answer questions on Tuesday, December 16 at 6 p.m. at Bessemer City Hall, 1800 Third Ave. North. BJCTA officials have said support exists for such a route and they plan to begin the commuter route in February. A second public meeting is planned in Hoover within the next month. The service, much like the two "Route 201" U.S. 280 commuter buses that went into operation in November, would run during morning and afternoon peak commute periods.
  • Yankton County (S.D.) Transportation Plan Seeks To Provide County Options
    Source: Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan
    The Yankton County Master Transportation Plan is entering its final stages of development before it's set to be drafted in February and finalized in March. In the meantime, the public was provided an opportunity during a public forum in Yankton to hear the study's findings and provide feedback.
  • Allegheny County Joins Pennsylvania on Job-Saving Transit
    Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    Despite the high cost of public transit, not every corner of Allegheny County has service. Some people who know it best are the ones who use Heritage Community Transportation in the Mon Valley and RideACTA in Robinson. Thanks to state lawmakers, Gov. Tom Corbett and now elected county officials, the transit extensions can continue for another year getting people to work, to doctors' appointments and to other places that are hard to reach without a car. State lawmakers and the governor made sure the services got a big boost from Act 89, the state transportation funding package that took effect this year. But the state dollars can't flow without a local match, which will come from $200,000 allocated in the 2015 county budget approved Tuesday by council. Fundraising by both agencies with local companies and civic groups could offset the dollars promised by the county, but if those efforts fall short, the public funds will sustain the transportation.
  • Craig (Colo.) Looks for Funds to Improve Transit
    Source: Craig Daily Press
    At the Nov. 25 Craig City Council meeting, the council approved submittal of a grant application for funds to improve transit resources in Craig. Craig Mayor Terry Carwile said the grant would likely be used to enhance already-existing transit options. "The nonprofits and some of the other organizations around here have done a great job addressing the needs of their own specific clienteles," Carwile said. "But there has not been any coherent plan in place to address the community as a whole. I'm sure there's some folks falling through the cracks."
  • Guam's Need for Mass Transit Should Come Before Raises
    Source: Guam PDN
    The Guam Regional Transit Authority last month launched a mass transit pilot program that was intended to improve service but had to cancel the program on Sunday because of lack of funding. The pilot program was showing promise with extended service hours during the day, more buses and routes around the island and the addition of Sundays to the weekly operation. Yet instead of finding ways to keep this pilot program going, elected officials have prioritized giving themselves raises over funding mass transit and other pressing community priorities.
  • $4.7 Million to be Saved by Lancaster & Berks Counties' Regional Transit Authorities Merger
    Source: PA Media Group
    The Red Rose Transit Authority and Berks Area Regional Transit Authority have merged. The two were consolidated to form the South Central Transit Authority on Dec. 1, with Dec. 11 being the new organization's first meeting. The merger is a move that PennDot estimates will save $4.7 million over five years. The decision to merge the two was made in November by the transit authorities as well as Lancaster and Berks county commissioners.
  • New Library, Senior Center, Transit Hub Planned for Downtown Clovis (Calif.)
    Source: Fresno Bee
    The Clovis City Council for several years has proposed putting a new library on a slice of industrial land near downtown, but the property owners were unwilling to sell. But Kevin and Denise Tweed have had a change of heart, and so on Monday night the City Council will decide whether to buy the 5.7 acres for $2.85 million. In addition to the library, the city wants to use the property to build a transit hub and a new senior center that would be twice as big as the current 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.

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The Porter's Station

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

  • Research: The Life and Death of the Highway Trust Fund
    Source: Eno Center for Transportation
    The Life and Death of the Highway Trust Fund is the result of an 18-month effort to evaluate the current political, economic, and legal forces behind the U.S. Highway Trust Fund (HTF), including an examination of peer countries and their lessons on providing long term sustainable funding for transportation investment. The paper concludes with recommendations for U.S. policymakers on how to provide sustainable funding while at the same time improving the federal program's effectiveness.
  • Report: Transportation Demands More Dollars, AASHTO/APTA Report Says
    Source: FleetOwner
    The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) jointly released a new report - dubbed the 2015 Bottom Line Report, which you can access by clicking here (http://bottomline.transportation.org/Pages/default.aspx) - that essentially says more spending on U.S. transportation infrastructure is an unavoidable necessity. To meet current demand, the research conducted by both groups indicates it'll require an annual capital investment over six years of some $120 billion in the nation's highway and bridge network and $43 billion in America's public transportation infrastructure. To meet those combined surface transportation needs, it would require an investment of $163 billion investment per year in surface transportation over a six year period. Current funding levels, by the way, aren't near those dollar levels, with $83 billion being invested in roads and bridges today along with $17.1 billion being invested in public transit.
  • GAO: Federal and Transit Agencies Taking Steps to Build Transit Systems' Resilience but Face Challenges
    Source: Government Accountability Office
    Transit agencies that GAO selected identified a number of actions they are taking to help make their systems more resilient, including performing risk assessments and developing plans, such as emergency operations plans. These agencies also take actions, such as building redundant assets or facilities, to ensure the continuity of operations of the agencies' systems. Further, transit agencies have changed their infrastructure to mitigate the potential impact of disasters on their assets. For example, as shown in the figure below, one agency elevated vents and curbs to minimize water flowing into the subway.
  • GAO: Measuring Results Could Help Determine If Coordination Efforts Improve Mobility
    Source: Government Accountability Office
    State and local transportation agencies and aging organizations in the four states GAO visited used a variety of mechanisms to coordinate transportation services for older adults. For example, many state and local activities are currently focused on mobility management approaches - such as travel training programs - to help older adults identify and access the various transportation resources available. Some organizations GAO interviewed have also implemented more extensive approaches to coordination that are intended to help older adults access transportation services, such as offering a wide range of volunteer transportation.

The Whistle Stop

Commentary and analysis on developments in community and public transportation

  • Transportation a Lifeline for Tribal Nations
    Source: U.S. DOT Fastlane Blog
    Transportation is, what President Obama likes to call, a ladder of opportunity. It helps people reach better jobs and better schools, which means they can reach for and seize a better life. That's especially true on Tribal Lands. Secretary Foxx announced this week that $5 million in grants from our Tribal Transit Program will soon be available for 2014. These grants will help tribes build and operate public transit programs and services that connect people with jobs, schools, and health care.
  • Start Mass Transit Planning Now
    Source: Idaho Press
    Does this situation in Idaho's Treasure Valley sound familiar to you: "Right now we need to focus our transportation efforts on our roads and bridges, and then after we've addressed that, we can start to talk about mass transit." or starters, it's good to hear our local legislators acknowledge the urgency with which our transportation infrastructure needs to be addressed. That's a positive indication that we should expect something constructive to be accomplished at the Statehouse this winter. However, we suggest it would be a mistake to view upkeep on our roads and bridges as a separate issue from mass transit that would include a robust busing system and, eventually, some form of rail transportation. We in the Treasure Valley should view them as two components of the same issue. So look at it this way - if we can reduce the number of individuals driving by getting more and more of those people to use mass transit, we won't need to expand so many crowded roads and intersections by adding lanes and stoplights to them, and we won't need to repair worn-down roads as often. You can see how these two issues are intertwined.
  • Four Ways To Encourage Transit-Friendly Affordable Housing
    Source: Streetsblog L.A.
    None of these are easy. They would involve different governmental agencies operating on different timelines. But perhaps a number of these measures could combine over time to overcome some of our systemic biases for sprawl and against infill transit-oriented development (TOD) and make a dent in the affordable housing shortage: 1. Additional Joint Development Sites; 2. Separate "Un-Bundle" Parking from Housing; 3. Minimize Parking Requirements for Affordable Housing; and 4. End Road Widening.

The Information Station

Resources from CTAA

  • The Changing American Commute
    This edition of DigitalCT focuses on the changing American commute to work - with an emphasis on vanpooling and CTAA's new Vanpool Works product. You'll learn about emerging research and trends, technological breakthroughs and innovative, alternative commuting approaches.
  • 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.
  • Volunteer Driver Program Review (PDF)
    This review from the National Volunteer Transportation Center is intended to support volunteer driver programs in their efforts to provide what might be called "high touch/low cost" transportation services to people who cannot access other community-based transportation. It was designed to enable volunteer driver program managers and staff to review the operations and management of their volunteer driver program in providing and supporting the delivery of transportation services.
  • 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
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Community Transportation and RAIL Magazines
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