It's all about the passengers!
- Scott Bogren
Communications Director, CTAA
Our Ride is a campaign of transit workers, riders, managers and advocates, community groups and environmental organizations. Check out their Website and advocacy at www.ourride.org.
Funding rules fuel clash within mass transit world
"Like hundreds of other communities, Ohio's Lorain County, a blue-collar area west of Cleveland, used federal economic stimulus funds to buy equipment -- 13 buses for $713,000. There was just one problem: The county ran out of money to actually run the buses, and nearly shut down service before a last-minute intervention left it with just two routes." Read more at the Washington Post online.
Metro, National Transit Workers Rally on Capitol Hill for More Federal Funding
Thousands of local and national transit workers rallied Tuesday on Capitol Hill for greater and more flexible federal funding for the country's ailing public transportation systems. Read more at the Washington Post.
Secretary LaHood Calls for Flexibility with Federal Funds
In his blog, Fast Lane: the official blog of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Secretary Ray LaHood, said of the current crisis in operating assistance all US transit systems are facing, "Accordingly, I will work with members of the House and Senate this year to see if we can allow transit agencies more flexibility to use a portion of their federal funds to cover operating costs during these tough economic times." The secretary added, "...Now, this cannot be a blank check. There must be limits. And clearly, we're talking about temporary assistance, not the normal course of business. But for right now, we should do what we can to keep our trains and buses operating, to keep people working, and to keep people getting to the jobs they need so badly. We need to support this industry so it can help families meet their daily needs all across the country."
To read more, visit fastlane.dot.gov.
Chairman Oberstar Backs Shift on Transit Operating Aid
At an event in Minneapolis, House transportation committee chairman James Oberstar (D-Minn.) announced his support for giving urban transit agencies more flexibility to spend federal transportation formula money on operating -- a change in the current law that has already won the backing of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
To read more, visit DC.StreetsBlog.org.
Senator Brown Announces Intention to Introduce Operating Assistance Bill in Senate
On Tuesday, March 16, before a gathering of transit workers, managers and advocates, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) announced his intention to introduce legislation in the United States Senate focusing on transit operating assistance. The bill, which will formally be introduced soon, includes much of the language from the bill sponsored by Rep. Russ Carnahan (HR 2746), which now has 102 co-sponsors in the US House of Representatives.
"This bill is designed to ensure that public transit systems of all sizes can get to work taking people back to work," said Sen. Brown, who is a member of the Senate Banking Committee, which is responsible for language reauthorizing federal transportation programs. Joining Senator Brown at the event were two members of the US House of Representatives, Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio) and Rep. Carnahan (D-Mo.).
"Transit means jobs," said Rep. Carnahan, to a packed crowd. "It means important jobs for workers at transit systems around the country, and for many Americans it is that commute to work every day."
Sen. Brown's bill will address a key provision omitted from HR 2746, it provides complete operating funding flexibility for all transit systems running 100 or fewer buses in peak service regardless of the population size of their service area.
The event, held outdoors on a sunny spring day in what is known as the Senate Swamp, concluded with brief presentations by transit workers impacted by their systems' lack of operating assistance flexibility. Their words words moved the audience and revealed the true impetus for the Alliance's legislative action.
"I miss my job," said Sherri Evans, a laid-off driver with Cincinnati's Southeast Ohio Regional Transit Authority. "Economically, how are we going to come back as a nation," asked Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority General Manager Joe Calabrese, "if we can't take people back to work?"
The members of Congress were joined by representatives and members of both the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) and the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), including CTAA Executive Director Dale J. Marsico and ATU International President Warren S. George, along with Joe Calabrese, General Manager of the Cleveland Regional Transit Authority and transit workers from Cleveland, Cincinnati and St. Louis.