While working on our annual Consultant Roundtable feature for the July issue, it is apparent that transportation authorization is still an extremely hot topic, as well as one that still has many scratching their heads.
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John L. Mica promised a draft of the bill by the Memorial Day recess, however, it looks as if that date will pass with still no bill. Where last year, many in the consultant industry seemed optimistic something would work out because of the Obama Administration's dedication to public transit, this year, most seem confident a bill is coming, but not one that will be favorable to the public transportation industry.
The reason why? There has still been nothing done to address the intense need for a new funding mechanism, especially as raising or implementing new taxes continues to garner negative reactions.
When asked if they had any short- or long-term solutions to solve the funding issue, most seemed tapped out of ideas, and instead, pointed to increased private investment as a way to help stem the funding gap. However, at the same time, most consultants were also quick to point out that private investment is not the magic bullet, so to speak, and will only be a successful tool if robust federal investment continues.
So, there you go, seems like we're back to square one all over again. The question is how can the federal government, which is trying to cut spending as much as possible, continue to find a way to be a major investor in public transportation with what appears to be no game plan to solve the funding issue?
In case you missed it...
Read our METRO blog, "Plans for national rail network splintered" here.
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.
Driving a bus never looked easy. Living in California and being stuck in my car as much as I am, I’ve always had tremendous respect for the men and women who operate buses on a daily basis. So, when the call came that I would get my shot to drive in Sunday’s APTA Bus Roadeo, I was both excited and nervous.