Speaking on next year's TEA-21 reauthorization proposals, including ADA compliance and transit competition, American Bus Association (ABA) President and CEO Peter J. Pantuso addressed the attendees of the 15th Annual National Rural Public and Intercity Bus Transportation Conference held October 27-30 in Huron, Ohio.
The biennial conference, sponsored by the Transportation Research Board and the Federal Transit Administration, brings hundreds of private and public bus operators together from across the country to discuss topics such as ADA compliance, management strategies, TEA-21 reauthorization and intermodalism.
"As part of its TEA-21 reauthorization recommendations, ABA is asking Congress to reauthorize and extend the compliance funding program through the life of the next highway and transit bill, and increase the available funding for motorcoach operators to $40 million to cover the actual cost of ADA compliance," Pantuso said during the conference.
Later in the conference, Pantuso participated on a panel with key transportation officials on TEA-21 reauthorization. ABA recently completed its recommendations, including a proposal to restore the balance between public and private bus operators.
Competition with transit agencies that are increasingly seeking new revenue streams is another strong concern among private bus operators that was discussed during the conference.
ABA has argued that the Federal Transit Administration should provide strong and consistent enforcement of rules governing transit competition.
ABA is also proposing a new federal fund dedicated exclusively to the development of intermodal passenger facilities. Under its proposal, grants would be made by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation on a competitive basis.
The primary criterion for selection would be the extent to which the facility enhances the integration of all modes of intercity as well as the connection with the private automobile.
"Truly effective alternatives to the private automobile must be linked to each other and to airports at intermodal transfer facilities to provide seamless transportation for the traveling public," Pantuso said.