Categories
Education/Webinars US DOT

US DOT Increases Efforts to Attract Women Transportation Professionals

DOT 145-10
Monday, July 26, 2010
Contact:  Olivia Alair
Tel: 202-366- 4570

U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces Expanded Internship Program to Get More Women Working in Transportation

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced the expansion of an internship program designed to encourage young women to pursue careers in transportation.  Secretary LaHood made the announcement at a Women’s Small Business Day hosted by the Department of Transportation (DOT).

“Women are an essential part of today’s labor force, yet women are underrepresented in the transportation industry,” said Secretary LaHood.  “We’re saying to all the college women out there – no matter where you’re enrolled, there’s a DOT Small Business Transportation Resource Center close by to help you plug into your dream job, whether it’s an airport, an engineering or aerospace firm, a railroad, a transit agency or perhaps one of our DOT offices.”

The internship program will expand from one to ten regions of the country, enabling young women from colleges and universities across the country to participate.  It will be administered through the Department’s 11 Small Business Transportation Resource Centers.  These Centers, spread throughout the nation, provide resources, technical assistance and outreach to all 50 states and U.S. territories.  Each Center will be responsible for placing qualified female college students in transportation related internships in their regions.

The expanded program, based on a successful pilot with Spelman College that Secretary LaHood announced in 2009, is part of a broader effort by the Department of Transportation to create a pipeline of younger women coming into the transportation workforce.

“We are excited about expanding a great program that will introduce young women to transportation careers nationwide,” said Office of Small and Disadvantage Business Utilization Director Brandon Neal. “It is our goal to assist as many women as possible and continue to be the training ground for future small business owners.”

In May 2010, Secretary LaHood also signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with the Women’s Transportation Seminar International to engage women at the juncture when they’re beginning to think seriously about their futures and inspire them to pursue careers in transportation by completing undergraduate and graduate degrees in science, technology, engineering and math.  The aim is to attract and retain a new generation of women in transportation professions.

The Women’s Small Business Day at the Department of Transportation enabled small business specialists from all of the department’s operating administrations to meet with the small business owners in attendance.

The program is one of several internships and fellowship programs offered through the U.S. Department of Transportation for both high school and college age girls.  The expanded effort supports President Obama’s mission and the work of the White House Council on Women and Girls.

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Categories
Public Transit Transportation Funding US DOT

FTA Study: $77.7 Billion Needed to Bring Nation’s Rail and Bus Transit Systems into ‘State of Good Repair’

FTA 22-10
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Contact: Paul Griffo
Tel: 202-366-4064

FTA Study: $77.7 Billion Needed to Bring Nation’s Rail and Bus Transit Systems into ‘State of Good Repair’
2010 Review Expands Upon Earlier Survey; Provides More Complete Assessment of Repair Backlog of Nation’s Transit Systems

A Federal Transit Administration (FTA) study released today estimates the cost of bringing the nation’s rail and bus transit systems into a state of good repair at $77.7 billion.  In addition, a yearly average of $14.4 billion would be required to maintain the systems.

FTA’s National State of Good Repair Assessment Study, requested by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood as a follow-up to the 2009 Rail Modernization Study report to Congress, provides a comprehensive analysis of the costs required to bring the nation’s rail and bus transit systems into good operating order.  The 2010 study released today is based on data provided by 36 additional rail and bus operators in both rural and urban areas.

“Transit remains one of the safest forms of transportation, but this report shows the clear need to reinvest in our bus, subway and light rail systems,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.  “As a nation, we must lead when it comes to infrastructure development and commit ourselves to rebuilding America.”

“Investment in the nation’s transit infrastructure is important to a healthy economy and most importantly, the safety and well-being of our riders,” stated Administrator Peter Rogoff. “For millions of Americans, having a safe and reliable transit system is the difference between seeing their children before bed or not, making it to work on time or arriving late, or getting to a doctor’s appointment or forgoing it.”

While most of the $77.7 billion backlog can be attributed to rail, more than 40 percent of the nation’s buses are also in poor to marginal condition.
“State of Good Repair” for the country’s transportation network is one of the five system-wide goals included in Secretary LaHood’s proposed Strategic Plan for the Department of Transportation.   The assessment is available online at http://www.fta.dot.gov/news/news_events_11865.html .

In April, Administrator Rogoff announced the availability of $775 million through a competitive State of Good Repair funding program that will invest in the nation’s bus and bus facilities.  A review of transit agency project applications is now underway at FTA and will be announced later this year.

The FTA has received approximately 400 project applications and more than $4.2 billion in requests for the $775 million.

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Categories
Local Government Transportation Funding US DOT US HUD

A Sidewalk to Nowhere: White House Administration Highlights Priorities for Sustainable Community Grant Applicants

It’s not every day you hear the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Policy from the US Department of Transportation describe transportation as a “means to an end, not the end itself.” Today the White House Office of Urban Affairs hosted a video panel / live chat on Facebook, including leaders from the Sustainable Communities Partnership — which has made available the $700+ million in grants for sustainable community planning. The panel included Beth Osborne (DOT), Shelly Poticha (HUD), and Tim Torma (EPA) and much of the discussion focused around what the Partnership is looking for in grant applications from local government.

Beth Osborne laid out clearly that the “purpose of transportation is to support opportunity” and that while the history of the transportation program has focused on fixing problems by retrofitting roads, DOT is now looking to fund projects that: “do more than slap down a sidewalk because it doesn’t matter how far you walk down a sidewalk if there’s nothing to walk to.” Osborne characterized the types of projects the Sustainable Community Partnership wishes to fund through federal grant programs by the ability to answer if you can walk somewhere to get a pizza in your community.

I’ve included some highlights below to share with those local governments applying or considering applying for the HUD Community Challenge Grants, DOT TIGER II Discretionary Planning Grants, HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants, or EPA Climate Showcase Communities Grants.

Highlights include:

  • an emphasis on the Livability Principles;
  • creation of “Preferred Sustainability Status;”
  • investment priorities in existing rather than new communities;
  • updates to local zoning codes to facilitate private investments in development;
  • need for more technical resources such as those at www.epa.gov/smartgrowth; and
  • TIGER grants, DOT Strategic Plan, and Transportation Reauthorization to prioritize: livability, state of good repair, economic competitiveness, and safety for all users.

Grant proposals are due on July 26 and August 23 and applicant registration must be submitted by July 16.

Read more and view the Federal Grant Flow Chart and Matrix at the links below:

Categories
Education/Webinars Federal Policy NewsFlash Transportation Funding US DOT US HUD

White House to Host Live Chat with Sustainable Communities Partnership on Thursday July 15

On Thursday, July 15th the White House Office of Urban Affairs will host a live chat with the leadership of the Sustainable Communities Partnership, anunprecedented agreement between HUD, Transportation, and EPA to coordinate federal housing, transportation, and environmental investments. A part of President Obama’s broader urban and metropolitan agenda, the partnership, aims to break down traditional silos and craft federal programs and policies that take a more collaborative and holistic approach to better respond to the needs of communities.

Last month, the Partnership released a joint notice of funding availability (NOFA) – $35 million in TIGER II Planning grants and $40 million in Sustainable Community Challenge grants – for local planning activities that integrate transportation, housing, and economic development. And, HUD also announced $100 million in funding for Sustainable Communities Regional Planning grant program that will support regional planning efforts that integrate housing, land use, economic development, and transportation.

We invite you to join us for a live discussion on Sustainable Communities – the progress they’ve made, the funding programs available, and what the future of the partnership looks like – at www.whitehouse.gov/live on July 15th at 2:00pm EST or you can submit questions in advance to Planetizen.

What: Sustainable Communities Live Chat

Who: Shelley Poticha, Director of the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities, HUD

Beth Osborne, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Policy, Department of Transportation

Tim Torma, Deputy Director of the Office of Sustainable Communities, EPA

Moderated by Derek Douglas, Special Assistant to the President on Urban Policy, White House

When: 2:00PM EST, Thursday, July 15, 2010

How: Watch and participate at www.whitehouse.gov/live

Send questions in advance to Planetizen.

For more information on the partnership, read their latest blog that summarizes their work and accomplishments.

Categories
GHG Reduction Local Government NewsFlash Research Transportation Funding US DOT

UC Davis Seeks Partnerships with Local Governments on HUD/DOT Grants

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Local Climate Policy for Transportation

The UC Davis Urban Land Use and Transportation Center (ULTRANS) aims to support the design and implementation of new land use and vehicle demand policies through research, education, and public outreach. The Center’s results-oriented research illuminates the relationship between land use, transportation, and the environment. Models and methods developed at ULTRANS will support the development of policies that encourage sustainable cities and regions.

Greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector can be addressed in three basic ways: reducing the carbon content of fuels, improving vehicle fuel economy, and changing individual travel and vehicle choices to be more climate-friendly. Local and regional climate policies focus on the third category of emission reduction strategies – encouraging behavioral change. In California, most local and regional governments are currently experimenting with programs to reduce the carbon footprint of their communities, in response to state policy established in Senate Bill 375 in 2008. However, rigorous evaluation of program effectiveness remains uncommon. This project aims to help change this situation.

Program evaluation studies are commonplace in many fields of applied research, especially when behavioral change is the program goal. These studies are designed to systematically evaluate the effectiveness of policies and programs in achieving measurable goals. Often, program evaluation studies are done during a pilot or demonstration phase of the program so that the research results can be used to fine tune the program before it is expanded to apply to a larger population.

ULTRANS aims to conduct pilot evaluations of the effect of programs in each of the above categories on greenhouse gas emissions. Researchers will then use these program evaluation experiences to develop standard methodologies that practitioners across the nation can use to evaluate the performance of their own programs. To accomplish this, ULTRANS is looking to partner with local governments that are currently implementing programs in each of the following categories.

The universe of local climate policies that address transport sector emissions can be divided into six categories:

  1. Encouraging “smart growth” land use to bring origins and destinations closer to each other, e.g. infill projects, strip mall redevelopment projects;
  2. Restricting parking through fees and/or supply changes, e.g. downtown parking meters, satellite parking facilities;
  3. Encouraging alternative modes (including carpools) by making them cheaper, safer, faster, and more convenient, e.g. real-time information at bus stops, bicycle boulevards;
  4. Restricting driving through pricing and/or supply changes, e.g. reduced speed limits, selected road “diets”;
  5. Implementing “soft measures” that utilize social norms and peer pressure to achieve behavior change; and
  6. Encouraging the use of lower carbon technologies, both fuel efficient vehicles and low-carbon fuels, e.g. targeted rebates, preferential parking.

Please contact the Urban Land Use and Transportation Center via email if you are interested in collaborating on this initiative:

Deborah Salon, Research Economist – ddsalon@ucdavis.edu

Susan Handy, Professor – slhandy@ucdavis.edu [out of office until July 19]

Categories
Public Transit Transportation Funding US DOT US HUD

2011 Appropriations Process Starts This Week; TIGER III Included

Last week the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation marked up the draft appropriations bill for 2011 –also known as “Transportation Housing and Urban Development” or “THUD”

The following are key points summarized from an article in Transportation Weekly:

  • Highway funding increased by ten percent
  • Transit funding increased (if additional spending authority is provided by the authorizing committees)
  • Transfers $200 million of formula bridge and highway funding to a new discretionary liveable community grant programs;
  • Creates a TIGER III program at $400 million ($200 million less than this year);
  • Provides $1.4 billion for High Speed and Intercity Rail Grants (also less than last year); and
  • Provides $145,980,000 in Highway and Transit earmarks for California.

Earmarks account for roughly $17.8 million through Federal Highways Administration and $128.2 through Federal Transit Administration

Categories
Federal Policy GHG Reduction Local Government Metropolitan Planning NewsFlash Transportation Funding US DOT US HUD

$748 Million in Federal Grants Available for Sustainable Communities

The Federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities integrates efforts across US DOT, EPA and HUD — including the release of a Notice of Funding Availability for cities, counties, MPOs, and transportation agencies to apply for sustainable community planning grants emphasizing performance outcomes from integrated land use and transportation plans.  Grant proposals are due on July 26 and August 23 and applicant registration must be submitted by July 16.

Read more and view the Federal Grant Flow Chart and Matrix at the links below:

Policy in Motion is offering a “Sustainable Community Grant Navigation” package to assist local governments in optimizing successful grant submissions for both the five federal grant opportunities totaling $748 million, and the California Proposition 84 grant awards totaling $22 million this cycle.

Consultancy services for the Navigation package include:

  1. overview of how federal and California policy direction ties into the scoring criteria for federal and California planning grants, and
  2. custom consultation for applicant on which grants to pursue and how to prepare grant materials through strategic planning submissions.

For more information contact Lauren Michele at lauren.michele@policyinmotion.com.  Lauren Michele is also an editor for Fehr and Peers’ climate change blog, CoolConnections.org, and recently posted an article detailing four federal grant opportunities for sustainable communities planning.

    Categories
    Federal Policy Public Transit Transportation Funding US DOT

    US DOT: New Transit Solutions Promise Jobs Now, Livability Gains for Years to Come

    This morning, as part of President Obama’s livability initiative, Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff and I announced over $290 million in new transit funding for projects that will enhance the quality of life in communities across America. The 53 grants will fund new streetcars, buses, and transit facilities from Manchester, NH, to Albuquerque, NM, through FTA’s Urban Circulator and Bus Livability programs.

    Administrator Rogoff summarized the benefits of this funding perfectly: “These projects mean jobs now and major transit improvements that will last for years to come.”

    Portland_streetcar
    With these grants, six more US communities will soon have streetcars like Portland

    I am thrilled about these awards because the jobs and the economic development and the mobility choices this livability funding sets in motion demonstrate so clearly the progress the Obama Administration has made possible in just 18 months.

    Communities around the US have been enthusiastic partners, looking for opportunities to advance good projects that have solid ridership expectations, that create opportunities for economic development, that have demonstrable environmental benefits, and that increase access for transit-dependent people.

    DenveTransit

    For $130 million in urban circulator grants, we received more than $1 billion in applications. And for the $160 million in bus grants, we received over $2 billion in applications.

    That’s a sign that America is ready for better connectivity, more transportation choices, and greater livability.

    And streetcars have become a very popular way to achieve those outcomes. In Charlotte, for example, the streetcar will provide an east-west transit spine connecting people to the 10,000 jobs and array of top-flight medical services at Presbyterian Hospital. It will also connect to Central Piedmont Community College, whose students are all commuters. And it will connect to the Charlotte Transportation Center for access to the Charlotte Area Transit System’s many bus lines and Lynx light rail system.

    Minneapolis-streetcar

    Cincinnati is another example of a promising streetcar through an urban core. Mayor Mark Mallory and the Cincinnati City Council realize that streetcars are a great engine to improve livability and drive economic development in Cincinnati’s downtown. Cincinnati’s residents and visitors don’t want to wrestle for scarce parking spaces; they don’t want to fight roadway congestion. They want to get to jobs, services, and retail stores without a hassle.

    Alameda County transit
    Alameda County, CA, is already greening its fleet with hybrids and  zero-emission vehicles

    With 47 projects, bus transit is also a huge part of these awards. The 34th Street Transitway in New York City will create a distinct bus lane, isolated from automobiles, and make 34th Street safer for pedestrians. A grant for more efficient buses will allow Manchester to provide better service in communities with smaller roadways–allowing elderly residents access to medical care while reducing transit operating costs and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

    In San Francisco, the Phelan Loop Bus Facility project offers a model of the gains our Partnership for Sustainable Communities with HUD and EPA can achieve. That project includes plans to maintain and create affordable housing, relocate a bus turnaround that dates back to the 1930s, and introduce service by Zero-Emission Vehicles. Walking access from affordable housing to a major transit center that is served by a green fleet–that is livability.

    Look, in the end, our goal is to provide cleaner, safer, and more efficient ways to get around in communities that want those alternatives. And today’s grants are a huge step in that direction.