Oh, how quickly the tide turns.
It was just less than two years ago that the cry for more public transportation funding or, at least, an understanding that more funding was necessary, had been heard by the federal government, in particular by President Barack Obama. Now, a half-term of bi-partisan incompetence has yielded a swift change in congressional leadership that is nearly unprecedented.
Although the 112th Congress hasn't even come to term yet, this change is already being felt in the public transportation industry, with both Wisconsin and Ohio high-speed rail projects immediately being cancelled after Republican Governors were voted into office last November.
What's more, the changes in both the House and Senate jeopardize what looked almost like an inevitable uptick in federal funding once details of the Federal Surface Transportation authorization bill were finally hammered out. In other words, if it looked like an uphill battle to pass an authorization bill before, how conservative do you think that those on Capitol Hill are going to be now that notice was proverbially served last November?
Following his confirmation as the new Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. John L. Mica (R-Fla) said that completing stalled projects and getting better utilization out of the federal government's assets are top priorities in ensuring "a strong backbone for our economy."
Of course, Rep. Mica's right, and it all sounds good, but is it just me that feels like a new transportation authorization bill or, at the very least, more federal support for public transportation, is getting smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror? What does the industry do now?
It drives me nuts when people litter. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people throw trash out of their car windows while they’re driving. I’m always tempted to honk my horn when I see drivers slyly ditching cigarette butts through their open window. Listen up, people. We see you!
Agencies that use Twitter to respond to users’ complaints or answer questions get more positive Twitter reaction and more civil discourse online, according to Lisa Schweitzer the author of a recent study analyzing tweets of public transit agencies. “It’s about the marketing potential of social media — a lot of public transit agencies are simply tweeting their problems to the world by blasting out late service announcements. That’s not a good use of Twitter,” she says. “Transit agencies can influence the tone of the discussion by interacting with patrons online,” Schweitzer explains. “It gives people something to respond to, and it reminds people that somebody is listening.”
Usually by early January, I will hopefully have taken down the last of our holiday decorations and eaten or given away the remaining sweets that have become a part of my regular diet during the month of December. Then, of course like most people, I’ll think about ways I want to improve myself for the coming year. Whether it be exercising more (walking from the parking lot to my office doesn’t count), eating less ice cream or managing my email better. The latter practice alone would help improve my efficiency at work immensely. I’m sure you probably feel the same way.
A new National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) study solidifies what the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Transit Savings Report has been telling us for years now: riding public transportation can save users money.
June 20 will mark the 8th annual National Dump the Pump Day sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association, in partnership with the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council.