News & Media
Vol. 7, No. 2April 23, 2009
In This Issue …
- Join CFTE at the 2009 Transit Initiatives and Communities Conference in Salt Lake City Utah
- Upcoming Elections: Two MI Counties going to the ballot on May 5
- Georgia State Legislators Fail to Pass Transportation Funding Bill
- President Obama Unveils Plan for High Speed Rail
Join CFTE at the 2009 Transit Initiatives and Communities Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah!
HOTEL & REGISTRATION DEADLINES APPROACHING FAST
The 2009 Transit Initiatives and Communities Conference is approaching fast! On May 31, 2009, transit advocates, community officials and ballot measure campaign professionals will be coming together for three days in Salt Lake City, Utah. The TIC Conference provides a unique opportunity for the diverse array of individuals and organizations interested in promoting transportation excellence in communities to come together to exchange the latest information on transportation ballot measures, broaden their understanding of current trends, and unite against challenges and critics to ensure successful ballot measures.
This year's program will address the latest challenges for communities looking to go to the ballot with a transportation measure--namely, the current state of the economy. Sessions will also look at the rise of Green--buildings, cars, lifestyles--and the renewed emphasis on energy conservation and environmental awareness. Discover how to highlight the linkages between transit investment and building a sustainable future while facing economic challenges. Register Now!
Confirmed and invited speakers at this year's conference include:
Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr.
Robert Grow, O'Melveny & Meyers LLP, Founding Chair Emeritus Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Reid Ewing, Professor of City and Metropolitan Planning at the University of Utah, Urban Land Institute Fellow, Salt Lake City, UT
Dr. Beverly Scott, General Manager, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority
Two Michigan Counties going to the ballot on May 5th!
MILLAGE INCREASES TO SUPPORT BUS LINES
Voters in Kalamazoo County, MI will be voting on a 0.4-mill property tax levy to pay for Care-A-Van service and bus routes that would extend beyond the city of Kalamazoo. As part of this plan, the City Commission is expected to approve another measure for the November ballot, in which voters within the city of Kalamazoo would be asked to approve another 0.6-mill tax. This two-tiered tax plan was designed after a countywide transit tax was rejected at the ballot last November. The countywide tax would generate approximately $3.27 million a year to fund Care-A-Van, Metro Van and regular bus lines outside of the city. The city tax in November would raise about $1.06 million annually for Metro Transit within Kalamazoo.
Also on May 5, voters in Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids, Kentwood, Walker, Wyoming and Grandville will be asked to approve a property tax increase to pay for a high-speed bus line operated by The Rapid. Although the measure appears on the ballot next month, the 0.16-mill increase would not go into effect until 2012 and would be authorized until 2016. Revenue from the tax will cover operating costs of the new system and will be used to maintain the existing Rapid bus routes. In the first year of the tax, approximately $1.7 million would be generated. The high-speed bus line, to be known as the Silver Line, would operate in dedicated bus-only lanes during peak hours and use intelligent transportation system applications and an electronic payment system to ensure speedy travel.
Georgia State Legislators Fail to Pass Transportation Funding Bill
MARTA FACES DRASTIC CUTS IN SERVICE
Earlier this month, the Georgia General Assembly ended their 2009 session without passing legislation to fund transportation in the Metro Atlanta Region. The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) Board has been urging the General Assembly to approve legislation that would ease restrictions on how MARTA spends a one-cent sales tax levied in Atlanta, Fulton County and DeKalb County -- its main source of funding. Had the assembly passed the legislation, MARTA would have the authority to access $65 million in its capital reserve account to fund a significant gap in its operating budget.
There was several key transit funding bills that came before the State Legislation this year. However, the House and Senate had trouble together on the statewide vs. regional approach and Governor Sonny Perdue spent much of the session insisting a governance overhaul has to happen before he would sign off on new funding methods. Many transportation agencies and advocates are urging Governor Perdue to call a special session on transportation funding. Meanwhile, MARTA is set to vote on service cutbacks in June.
For more transit related news visit www.cfte.org
President Obama Unveils Plan for High Speed Rail
FIRST ROUND GRANTS AWARDED THIS SUMMER
The President released a strategic plan outlining his vision for high speed rail in America. The plan identifies $8 billion provided in the ARRA and $1 billion a year for five years requested in the federal budget as a down payment to jump-start a potential world-class passenger rail system and sets the direction of transportation policy for the future. The strategic plan will be followed by detailed guidance for state and local applicants. By late summer, the Federal Railroad Administration will begin awarding the first round of grants.
The report formalizes the identification of ten high-speed rail corridors as potential recipients of federal funding. Those lines are:
· Pacific Northwest
· South Central
· Gulf Coast
· Chicago Hub Network
· Northern New England
There will also be opportunities for the Northeast Corridor from Washington to Boston to compete for funds to improve the nation's only existing high-speed rail service.
For more information visit http://www.dot.gov/