October 2, 2012

APTA Annual: Question of the Day

As part of the APTA Annual Meeting, METRO asked top executives how the passage of MAP-21 will impact their agency. Here are their answers.

Terry Garcia Crews, GM/CEO, Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, Cincinnati Metro
“MAP-21 provides greater stability for long-term planning through formula funding for mid-size systems like ours.  I was particularly pleased to see the language dropped that would have limited the Bus and Facilities Formula funding to bus-only transit agencies, particularly as Cincinnati moves forward to be multi-modal with the introduction of an urban streetcar.

In addition, the emphasis placed on transit safety by the Secretary of Transportation is a critical focus for transit agencies as we develop stronger safety programs and initiatives.”

W. Curtis Stitt, President/CEO,
Central Ohio Transit Authority, Columbus, Ohio
“We don’t believe, because of the size and the nature of the service we provide, that it’s going to have significant impact on us, but the jury is still out. Because of how voluminous the bill is, there could be a few things that we haven’t touched upon yet. But, looking at the tables for the formula funding and what the projections on funding might be, we don’t see a whole lot of impact on us; we come out about the same.

The key, though, is what impact the bill is going to have on the industry. Going forward, it’s created a situation where we have to start working again, now, for the reauthorization of MAP-21. As these things go, MAP-21 will be expired shortly, relatively speaking, which signals that we should be planning on what the next bill will look like and doing what we can to insure it’s going to be a six-year bill.”

Kate Riley, GM, Sun Tran and Sun Van, Tucson, Ariz.
“Like I’ve discussed here in Tucson, both at the City and agency, I think it’s going to increase competition for federal dollars, particularly in light of the fact that they have merged programs like JARC and New Freedom into another existing program. There’s money there, but the competition for those monies is going to be fiercer. I don’t necessarily know if it would be my concern or not, but I’m sure there are some smaller or mid-size agencies that might worry about their ability to compete with some of the larger agencies.”

Jim Cline, President, Denton County Transportation Authority, Lewisville, Texas
“The passage of a multi-year transportation bill is important because it allows us to plan more than one year in advance. There are elements of the bill that were positive. The bill increases the emphasis on safety and streamlines project delivery. More specifically, MAP-21 provided DCTA additional flexibility to utilize its formula funds to cover both operating and capital costs. However, we were hoping that we would see some type of relief from Positive Train Control, either through funding or an extension of the deadline.”

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