3/27/2018

 





  Appropriations bill includes $13.5B for FTA programs

President Trump signed the $1.3 trillion omnibus appropriations bill to keep the federal government open until at least September and provides funding for Federal Transit Administration (FTA) programs to $13.5 billion, well more than the $12.3 billion authorized, and provides significant increases in Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) commuter and intercity passenger rail programs as well.

"The bill reflects the importance that Congress places on the value of public transportation, for the contribution it makes to mobility, and for the role such investment plays in the vibrancy and economic prosperity of communities nationwide. In passing this bill, Congress has preserved the strong federal partnership with states and communities that is required to improve the nation's transportation infrastructure. It will help create jobs, connect communities, and grow our economy," said APTA President/CEO Paul P. Skoutelas.


President Trump signed the $1.3 trillion omnibus appropriations bill to keep the federal government open until at least September and provides funding for Federal Transit Administration (FTA) programs to $13.5 billion, well more than the $12.3 billion authorized, and provides significant increases in Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) commuter and intercity passenger rail programs as well.

President Trump signed the $1.3 trillion omnibus appropriations bill to keep the federal government open until at least September and provides funding for Federal Transit Administration (FTA) programs to $13.5 billion, well more than the $12.3 billion authorized, and provides significant increases in Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) commuter and intercity passenger rail programs as well.

"The bill reflects the importance that Congress places on the value of public transportation, for the contribution it makes to mobility, and for the role such investment plays in the vibrancy and economic prosperity of communities nationwide. In passing this bill, Congress has preserved the strong federal partnership with states and communities that is required to improve the nation's transportation infrastructure. It will help create jobs, connect communities, and grow our economy," said APTA President/CEO Paul P. Skoutelas.

Of the $13.5 billion for the FTA, $2.6 billion will go to the Capital Investment Grants (CIG) program - a slight increase from the $2.4 billion allotted in FY 2017. The bill also increases funding for buses and bus facilities over the FY 2017 level from $720 million to $1.1 billion, while funding for the rail State of Good Repair program was increased from $2.6 billion to $3 billion.

The bill also increases funding for other transit formula programs as authorized by the FAST Act, including the appropriation of $1.5 billion for the TIGER program and $250 million for Positive Train Control implementation under the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement grant program. It also increases Amtrak funding from $1.5 billion in FY 2017 to $1.9 billion this year, and provides significant increases for other passenger rail programs.

"Federal investments supported under these programs will help to address the $90 billion funding backlog, identified by the U.S. DOT, that is needed to bring America's public transportation infrastructure back into a state of good repair," added Skoutelas. "Additionally, these 2018 appropriations will help move public transportation forward and help communities of all sizes create economic growth."   ....   READ MORE >

 
 
  With a MAN truck chassis, Hafencity Riverbus is Germany's first amphibious bus
 
Is it a boat? Or is it a bus? Looking at the new Hafencity Riverbus in Hamburg, it is actually a bit of both. This makes the amphibious vehicle ideally suited to the port city on the Elbe, since the vast majority of its tourist attractions are located either on or adjacent to the water. Thus, the new attraction skilfully combines tours of the harbour and the city.

Is it a boat? Or is it a bus? Looking at the new Hafencity Riverbus in Hamburg, it is actually a bit of both. This makes the amphibious vehicle ideally suited to the port city on the Elbe, since the vast majority of its tourist attractions are located either on or adjacent to the water. Thus, the new attraction skillfully combines tours of the harbor and the city.

On land, the new river bus travels much like a normal scheduled-service bus and it is even equipped with stop request buttons. This is not because it will actually be calling at any stops on its way, but rather because it was a requirement for this unusual vehicle to be granted a permit.

As the owner of the first amphibious bus in Germany, Fred Franken had to perform quite some pioneering work on many occasions. Which is why it took four years before the initial idea finally became a reality. Obtaining the permit presented in fact the greatest challenge, as German traffic law does not provide for amphibious vehicles.

"I already had the idea for this kind of project 18 years ago," explains Franken, a shipping merchant and self-confessed bus enthusiast. "Back then, I had seen a similar attraction in Singapore and it was immediately obvious to me that we definitely had to bring something like this to Hamburg."

Beneath the waterproof hull sits an MAN truck chassis; the body was provided by a Hungarian company. Another challenge arises when it comes to maintenance. "This is neither a bus nor a boat and there haven't really been any comparable vehicles up until now. So the workshop staff need an extremely high level of technical knowledge in order to quickly get to any parts in need of repair," explains Mike Vannauer, Regional Manager Bus Sales North at MAN Truck & Bus Deutschland GmbH.

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  Don’t Let Budget Cuts or Uncertainty Cripple Your Bus Fleet Replacement Program

From School Bus Fleet:

Rather than simply defer replacement purchases to meet short-term budget balancing goals, many school administrators should use potential fiscal challenges to trigger a thorough reappraisal of their district's approach to fleet replacement.

In countless school districts across the country, looming proposed state budget cuts will hit districts hard and could leave the most hard-pressed school districts broke. As a result, school bus fleet replacement planning and fleet funding levels have taken a serious hit. Unlike employees, school buses don't talk back when officials decide that trimming fleet size or postponing replacement purchases is a good way to help balance an organization's budget.


Rather than simply defer replacement purchases to meet short-term budget balancing goals, many school administrators should use potential fiscal challenges to trigger a thorough reappraisal of their district's approach to fleet replacement.
 

Rather than simply defer replacement purchases to meet short-term budget balancing goals, many school administrators should use potential fiscal challenges to trigger a thorough reappraisal of their district's approach to fleet replacement.  In countless school districts across the country, looming proposed state budget cuts will hit districts hard and could leave the most hard-pressed school districts broke. As a result, school bus fleet replacement planning and fleet funding levels have taken a serious hit. Unlike employees, school buses don't talk back when officials decide that trimming fleet size or postponing replacement purchases is a good way to help balance an organization's budget.

We all know that there is an inherent trade-off between fleet capital and operating costs: spend more on replacement so as to replace buses sooner, and operating costs will be lower and residual values higher; spend less on replacement, however, and the reverse will be true. But such trade-offs don't occur so quickly that most districts can't "save" money in a given fiscal year by postponing replacement purchases.

Over the long-term, however, such school districts do risk increasing their overall fleet costs by curtailing replacement spending too much in the pursuit of short-term budget savings. Depending on the current age of a given fleet, the supposed savings from such actions may prove to be nothing more than a temporary, costly illusion.  While state funding challenges often serve as a useful corrective to the unchecked increases in fleet size and fleet-related spending that can occur during economic boom times, school administrators should work very hard to try to prevent them from doing lasting damage to their fleet replacement plans and, as a consequence, ......  READ MORE >

 


 

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