February 3, 2017
As the 115th Congress and a new Administration get to work in Washington, D.C., there has already been much discussion about opportunities for an infrastructure initiative. While this is an exciting opportunity to make additional investments in our nation’s public transportation infrastructure, we also must remain vigilant against attempts to roll back the progress we have made. This is why it is so important that you engage with your Members of Congress. Make meetings today with your members of the House of Representatives and Senate at home in their districts and join us in March in Washington, D.C. for our Legislative Conference. APTA has produced a toolkit which can be utilized in these efforts, linked below.
To access our “First 100 Days of New Congress and Administration Toolkit,” please click here.
To register for our Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. on March 12-14, please click here.
In addition, APTA Chair Doran Barnes will be hosting an advocacy call to action on Wednesday, February 8, from 4-5 p.m. ET. To register for this call, please click here.
Elaine Chao Confirmed as Secretary of the Department of Transportation
On Tuesday, Elaine L. Chao was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the next Secretary of the Department of Transportation by a vote of 93 – 6. In a statement, APTA congratulated the new Secretary and stated a strong desire to work closely with the Department to advance public transportation nationwide. To view the full press release, please click here.
Transit Security Grant Program Flexibility Act Passes the House of Representatives
Also on Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 549, the Transit Security Grant Program Flexibility Act, by voice vote. In the 114th Congress, a similar bill was introduced and passed the House by voice vote with a letter of support from APTA.
This bill amends the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 to permit the use of public transportation security assistance grant funds for backfill associated with security training. Also, funds provided pursuant to such a grant for a specified authorized use shall, with two exceptions, remain available for use by a grant recipient for at least 36 months. Additionally, any such funds used for security improvements for public transportation systems or security improvements for stations and other public transportation infrastructure, including those owned by state or local governments, shall remain available for at least 55 months.
The bill will now go before the U.S. Senate for consideration. To view the full bill text, please click here.
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Holds First Hearing of 115th Congress
Wednesday morning, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held its first hearing of the 115th Congress titled “Building a 21st Century Infrastructure for America.” The committee heard testimony from business leaders on the challenges facing our nation’s infrastructure and a vision for a modern infrastructure that supports a strong economy. Witnesses included:
• Mr. Frederick W. Smith, Chairman & CEO of the FedEx Corporation
• Mr. David W. MacLennan, Chairman & CEO of Cargill, Incorporated
• Mr. Ludwig Willisch, President & CEO of BMW of North America
• Ms. Mary V. Andringa, Chair of the Board of the Vermeer Corporation
• Mr. Richard L. Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO