Management & Operations

APTA executives discuss industry funding challenges

Posted on October 5, 2011


Even though they come from different sides of the public transportation sphere, the future and current presidents of APTA both share similar ideas on where the organization is heading and what challenges the industry faces and why.

In a media luncheon on Tuesday, Michael Melaniphy, the next APTA president starting Nov. 1, and Bill Millar, the current APTA president, joined Gary Thomas, the 2011-2012 APTA chair and president of Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), for a media luncheon, where they gave insights on why a long-term funding bill has yet to surface for transit even while demand and ridership increase. 

“You’ll hear a lot of consistent messages that they (legislators) want to do the right thing,” Melaniphy said, adding that local initiatives aren’t enough to educate people on what’s needed for a long-term solution to keep public transportation afloat. “We’ve got to find a way to get the message out in a way that is easier to digest in smaller sound bites.” 

Millar said one of the largest challenges at this point in getting the U.S. Congress to pass a long-term bill lies in the pushback from conservative lawmakers. “To be a great city, you have to have great public transit — and we ought to accept that,” Millar said, citing the current political climate in Washington, D.C. and the lack of agreement on a funding source. “If you start by saying, ‘we can’t talk about revenue,’ well that’s a very difficult starting point,” he says.

Millar acknowledged, though, that funding can’t only come from the federal or state levels, but that the industry must find a way to garner venture capital from the private sector as well. 

And APTA’s new president, who comes from the private sector, and the new chair agree. “What we don’t always know how to do is take advantage of the assets that we do have,” said Thomas, who’s undergoing a challenge at DART that many younger agencies face — they aren’t that new anymore and will need infrastructure investments over the next few years. “We have to continue to plan for what’s ahead of us otherwise we’re going to find ourselves in a situation where we can’t move people and goods in a metropolitan area.”

The reality, all three say, is that more and more Americans are looking to public transportation to fulfill their transit needs as more families purchase smaller cars for the better fuel economy. With new technology, though, such as having Wi-Fi available onboard, more comfortable seating and no-hassle fare systems, Melaniphy said that not only are families looking to public transportation for the low price tag, but for the convenience. On the APTA Expo show floor, for example, “There are no bread boxes down there,” he says. “Now, we have great, sexy looking trains and buses.”


View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

L.A. Metro launches pilot program for SBE, DBE, and DVBE firms

The $1.3 million Contractor Development and Bonding Program will enable qualified entrepreneurs to successfully compete for construction-related contracts.

San Antonio's VIA unveils zoo-themed bus stop shelters

The stop serves VIA’s VIVA culture route and is part of VIA’s ongoing Passenger Amenities Improvement Program, which includes the improvement of 1,000 existing bus stops throughout the VIA service area.

COTA taps new President/CEO

Joanna Pinkerton was recommended by the COTA CEO Selection Committee and then unanimously approved by the full Board of Trustees. 

WSP USA names Las Vegas office leader/sr. engineering manager

In his new position, John Meng will provide focus, direction, and leadership, as well as project management and technical expertise on local projects as appropriate.

Former MARTA CEO joins Grande West board of directors

Keith Parker is currently the president and CEO of Goodwill of North Georgia, and previously served as CEO/GM of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment


Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close