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Who’s my Legislator?

VTA Upcoming Events:
Jan. 26 – VTA Legislative Day and Reception
May 20-21 – VTA Annual Conference; Williamsburg

 

Continuing the conversation on Making the Business Case for Transit
Click here for links to the presentations from the VTA Conference panel and to provide feedback to NVTC and VTA and keep the conversation going.

 

Federal News

FTA Opens Comments on ADA Circular

FTA opened comments on seven new chapters for its proposed Americans with Disabilities Act Circular, on Nov. 12. The proposed circular would affect virtually every public transit operation. APTA has requested a delay owing to the size and complexity of the proposal. However, the comment due date is currently set at Jan. 12, 2015.


House and Senate Pass FY15 Appropriations (CR-OMNIBUS); Bill Headed to President for Signature
(Download Document in Adobe PDF format) complete summary

Public transportation fares well under the final CROmnibus. The Federal Transit Administration receives the full funding authorized for core formula programs, under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), at $8.595 billion. Capital Investment Grants (New Starts), which receive funding from the General Fund, are funded at $2.120 billion, plus an additional $28 million in prior year unobligated funds. This level is $167 million more than the FY 2014 level. Included in the total for the New Starts program is $120 million for Core Capacity projects, and $143.7 million for small starts, plus the $28 million in prior year unobligated funding intended for bus rapid transit (BRT) projects. The total would include $1.5 billion for existing FFGA projects and $325 million for anticipated FFGA’s in FY2015.

The bill also provides $150 million for grants to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) for capital investments, as authorized under legislation separate from MAP-21.


House Passes Tax Extenders Bill; Senate to Vote Next

On December 3, 2014, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 5771, The Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014, by a vote of 378 to 46. The bill includes a retroactive extension of federal excise tax credits for alternative fuels for 2014. Transit agencies fueling their fleets with alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG) are eligible for these credits to offset operating costs.

APTA and other industry partners also advocated for permanent parity between employer-provided mass transit and parking pre-tax/tax free benefits or, at the least, the extension of parity for 2015. However, the House bill merely provides a retroactive extension of parity for 2014 and, given the nature of how the mass transit benefit is administered, transit commuters or employers are not likely to realize reduced commuting costs or tax liability for 2014. Even though the 2014 retroactive parity provision offers no immediate or practical benefit for transit commuters or employers, its inclusion in a final bill will be helpful in future discussions to make parity permanent.

 

APTA Forum on Triennial Review Reform

Please direct any questions on this subject to Patricia Doersch (pdoersch@apta.com), APTA Legislative Counsel, or Brian Tynan, Director of Government Relations (btynan@apta.com).

 

House Rejects Senate Amendments; Senate Accepts House Bill and Sends Measure to the President

With the action on July 31 by Congress, the bill sent to the President for his signature transfers $10.8 billion into the Highway Trust Fund, allowing the Trust Fund to stay solvent through May 2015, and extends MAP-21 funding authorization and policies for highway, mass transit, and safety programs through May 31, 2015.

Statements made by transportation organizations across surface transportation modes and industries largely called on Congress to continue to seek a long-term solution to the funding challenges regardless of the length of the extension. The statement of APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy can be found here.

More information can be found here.

Date Announced for National Day of Transportation Infrastructure (April 9, 2015)
  VTA members are invited to join with advocates from across the country in a coordinated and highly visible day of advocacy to call attention to the need for Congressional action on a long-term, well-funded federal commitment to transportation investment.

With a new Congress and the pending expiration of the existing federal surface transportation legislation (MAP-21) in May, this will be a crucial time for transportation advocacy.

 

 

State News

Public Hearings on the Governor’s Proposed Amendments to the 2014-2016 Biennial State Budget
Wednesday, January 7, 2015 (Hearings begin at 10 am)
-Prince William County: George Mason University, Manassas Campus, Hylton Performing Arts Center, Gregory Family Theater
-Abingdon: Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center
Wednesday, January 7, 2015 (Hearings begin at 12 noon)
-Williamsburg: College of William and Mary, School of Education, Professional Development Center
-Martinsville: New College Institute, Building on Baldwin
-Central Virginia: City of Richmond, General Assembly Building, House Room D

 

HB 2 Update
On Wednesday, January 8, 2015 from 1:00 – 4:00 PM, the Secretary of Transportation will be hosting a statewide stakeholder outreach session on House Bill 2, broadcast to each VDOT construction district office, to provide more detailed information on progress to-date.  The purpose of this meeting will be to engage transit agencies as  key stakeholders, solicit feedback and hear ideas from planning partners on the process prior to making recommendations next year to the CTB.  Click here for locations and more information.

 

 

  Virginia’s Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment (OIPI) will lead the development of the Commonwealth’s long-range multimodal transportation plan – VTrans2040.  The plan will be developed in two phases and will result in the production of two companion documents: the VTrans2040 Vision and the VTrans2040 Multimodal Transportation Plan.

VTrans2040 will identify multimodal needs across the Commonwealth. Moving forward, only projects that help address a need identified in VTrans2040 will be considered for funding under the statewide prioritization process from House Bill 2. The plan will focus on the needs of the Commonwealth’s statewide network of Corridors of Statewide Significance, the multimodal regional networks that support travel within metropolitan regions, and improvements to promote locally designated Urban Development Areas (UDAs).  

http://www.vtrans.org/Vtrans2040.asp

 

 

Local News

Fairfax County OKs funding for rest of Silver Line to Dulles
Fairfax County officials have agreed to the terms of a $403 million federal loan for the second phase of Metro’s Silver Line…read the entire article here.

WATA Turns to Technology to Better Inform Riders
The Williamsburg Area Transit Authority has rolled out a new system of tracking its buses, allowing riders to use their phones and computers for real-time estimates of when their bus will arrive…to continue reading, click here.

Hampton Roads Transit survey results highlight need for more transit options
To make mass-transit travel more appealing to potential and existing users, Hampton Roads transportation leaders should consider adding more routes, improving bus stop amenities and find ways to expand light rail and other rapid rail options…to continue reading, click here.

 

 

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 Virginia Transit Systems Look Forward to New State Funding
Generated by Passage of HB 2313

HB 2313  provides a new, growing annual revenue source, dedicating a portion of the 0.3% increase in the general sales tax to support transit and intercity rail projects in the Commonwealth (0.125%).

What this means for transit:  $65 million in FY14 growing to $84 million by FY18 [($20 million annually IF  Congress passes the Market Place Fairness Act by 2015; $300 million for Dulles Rail from road funds (to reduce project cost/tolls)].
What this means for intercity passenger rail
: $44 million in FY14 growing to $56 million in FY18; $257 million over 5 years.

 Transit Service Delivery Advisory Committee (TSDAC) Recommends New Formula for Distributing HB 2313 Transit Funds

The new transit funds will be distributed by a new formula recommended by the Transit Service Delivery Advisory Committee (TSDAC) to the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB).  The Performance-Based Operating Assistance Allocation Implementation Plan is in the public comment period until October 1.  Click  here to view.  The committee is also discussing recommended changes to the capital allocations process.  These changes will be subject to a separate public comment process.

 

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