APTA 2020 Mobility and Rail NOW Conference
American Public Transportation Association (APTA) 2020 Mobility and Rail NOW Conference
Remarks of Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams (as prepared for delivery)
Good morning. I appreciate the opportunity to speak with all of you today to talk about our joint mission to improve public transportation in American communities.
Let me begin by thanking you on behalf of Secretary Chao for your critical work during this public health emergency. Your frontline workers have continued to provide critical service to essential workers who have kept America and Americans moving. Thank you!
And thank you, Nuria for that very kind virtual introduction. I had the good fortune to meet and get to know Nuria very early in my tenure at FTA, and have always enjoyed our work together. Nuria is a true leader and innovator in the industry, and I truly value our partnership.
From the beginning of this public health emergency, the transit industry has provided essential transportation services, transporting workers in healthcare, emergency response, and food services to the jobs that have sustained all of us over the past few months.
We are committed to continuing to support the industry as communities across America continue to reopen. As you saw in our video, FTA quickly leveraged federal funding and made the safety of frontline workers, transit staff and riders our number-one priority. It is so important that you prioritize spending this federal funding as we continue to stimulate local economies and drive job creation across America.
We are working around the clock to continue to distribute the remaining CARES Act funding. And early on we were focused on providing regulatory relief, extending grant deadlines, and coordinating the distribution of more than 14 million protective facial coverings.
As always, safety is Secretary Chao’s top priority and the distribution of face coverings is the latest example of the Trump Administration’s commitment to safety. Thank you for putting those face coverings to good use throughout your systems!
Recently, we launched monthly listening sessions on how to restore and manage service during these challenging times. The sessions are designed to facilitate an exchange of ideas and practices during recovery from the public health emergency. Each session will feature a panel describing practices used by their agencies and answering questions submitted by participants. We will host five monthly sessions between now and the end of the year.
We have also made significant infrastructure investments under the Trump Administration, advancing funding for 36 new CIG projects throughout the nation totaling approximately $9.4 billion dollars in funding to support your work in communities across America.
In July, we announced a $21.8-million-dollar Small Starts funding agreement to Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority in St. Petersburg, Florida. Earlier this month, FTA provided the 30-day notice to Congress that we are preparing to sign Full Funding Grant Agreements for two more CIG projects:
- $1.17 billion for the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART)’s Transbay Corridor Core Capacity project in San Francisco; and
- A $929-million-dollar project supporting the Twin Cities Southwest Light Rail extension in Minnesota.
We also recently announced discretionary grant awards totaling over $150 million dollars, including:
- the Low or No Emission bus program to expand advanced, efficient bus technologies;
- the Pilot Program for Transit Oriented Development to improve access to public transportation;
- And projects funded under our new Mobility for All program.
The Department of Transportation just observed the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. I am especially gratified FTA has invested more than $50 million dollars in pursuit of accessibility through several initiatives, including the Mobility for All program.
AND, as Secretary Chao just announced, the Trump Administration is investing nearly half a billion dollars in buses and bus facilities throughout the nation to repair, restore, and rebuild our critical transit infrastructure.
Innovation is also one of Secretary Chao’s top priorities, which is even more important in light of this public health emergency. I am happy to say that we will soon announce $14 million in funding for projects under the new Accelerating Innovative Mobility program, or AIM, to improve the safety of riders, operators, and maintenance personnel, which will include a focus on contactless payment systems.
On behalf of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao, thank you for all that you do. We are grateful to you for providing safe, reliable and accessible public transportation services across America. Thank you.