Two weeks ago, President Barack Obama signed the new MAP-21 surface transportation bill, funding transportation programs and giving public transit a much needed sense of stability, even if it’s for only two years. While the funding levels may not be where most would like them to be and the actual dedicated funding source is still up in the air, the fact that Congress got a bill done is great.
Likewise, California’s lawmakers approved SB 1029, which will create thousands of new jobs in California by modernizing regional transportation systems and linking them to the state’s future high-speed rail line. The $4.7 billion investment will be matched by an additional $7.9 billion in federal and local dollars for statewide improvements to transportation in California. Gov. Jerry Brown signed that bill into law on Thursday.
What both of these turn of events point out is that despite all the political muckraking going on at both the federal and state level, all the lawmakers involved realize the importance public transit plays in the growth and stability here in the U.S.
The fact that there is a relatively small group crying foul every time money is being spent where it is not their preference doesn’t reflect the reality of what’s going on. As mentioned earlier, while the industry does have a sense of optimism after being given some stability, it is still very disappointed that lawmakers will not simply raise the gas tax or come up with a solution that can be taken seriously.
So, with two years left to seriously address the true issue of funding public transit, does this recent turn of events give you optimism that they will find one before MAP-21 expires?
In case you missed it...
Read our METRO blog, "Rail systems driving neighborhood tensions," 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.