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Mid-Atlantic FAST Act Talk 12 March

ESPA, Mid-Atlantic, Others
by

Jim Mathews

on 12 March 2016

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Transcript of Mid-Atlantic FAST Act Talk 12 March

What The FAST Act Means
Americans Want Train Travel!
(A talk in three "Acts"...)

"ACT" One...Opportunities
Great new tools in the toolbox...
Great new tools in the toolbox...
"ACT" 2: FAST Act Faces Problems
The Fixing America's Surface Transportation

(FAST) Act provides
$5.454 billion
for passenger rail over five years
Pax rail included as part of a broader Surface authorization
for the first time ever
State-Supported Route Committee:
Transparency, collaboration and a forum for best practices should help elected officials understand what they're getting for their money--and what they could be getting. Especially helpful whenever a "cut-spending' Governor or state legislative slate has come to power, because state routes have a giant "bullseye' on their backs when this happens.
Consolidated Rail Infrastructure & Safety Improvement Program (CRISI)
: $1.103 Billion/five years, 80/20 Fed/State cost share, 25 percent set aside for projects in rural areas
Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair Program
: $997 million/five years, capital projects can bring assets into a state of good repair, boost capacity or provide for higher service levels
Many new
tools in the toolbox
to advance passenger rail, ranging from
new service studies to additional grant programs
Restoration & Enhancement Grants
: $100 million/five years ($20m per year), fed operating assistance limited to 3 yrs, 80%/60%/40%; Gulf Coast, for example...
Local Products & Promotional Events
: Pilot program for States with a State-sponsored Amtrak route to encourage sale of local food and beverage on board and promotional events on trains or in stations. Texas BBQ on the Eagle, Finger Lakes wine on the Lake Shore, Rolling Rock in the cafe car on the Keystone service, etc.
Shared-Use Study
: DOT must engage with stakeholders to complete a study evaluating the shared use of ROW by pax and freight-rail systems, and how best to support improvements -- operationally, institutionally and legally.
Gulf Coast Working Group
: Building on organizing work done by NARP, the Southern Rail Commission and Transportation 4 America, this should give Gulf Coast communities a big boost getting service restored east of New Orleans. $500K annually plus the Restoration grants should help turn public demand into action
A
great
funding profile was passed with strong majorities! But...
The FAST Act is an
Authorization
not an
Appropriation.
Supporters of this near-term blueprint for improving passenger rail
need to fight each year during the Appropriations cycle
Congress has once again abandoned "regular order"...which gave us a FY16 Omnibus spending bill rather than formal Appropriations for each function.
Bottom line? We've already LOST one of the FAST Act's five years.
NARP NEEDS YOUR HELP to make sure that the overwhelming majority of legislators who voted for the FAST Act follow through and FUND THIS VISION FOR PASSENGER TRAINS!
"ACT" Three: You Can Help
Activate Local Leaders
Mayors, Council Members, local transportation officials...you see first-hand how trains, transit and mobility promote growth, and how effective transportation is vital to the American way of life.

Share your stories at town hall meetings, planning commission hearings, with local officials in their offices...
"ACT" Three: You Can Help
Activate Young Passengers
NARP's experience with the Millennials Campaign on the Dallas-Houston corridor has demonstrated the importance of these passengers as advocates for a future they will inhabit.

State university campuses, commuter schools, young professionals ALL NEED MOBILITY!
Join with NARP members working for A Connected America
Intercity passenger rail...
Commuter rail...
Light rail...
Streetcars...
BRT...
Bikeshare...
Links to airports...
TOD to attract private capital
Doubling down on highway spending IS SIMPLY NOT THE ANSWER!
Cost-Effective:
A two-track railroad can carry
as many people in one hour as 16 lanes of highway
if everyone drove solo
Congestion Antidote:
Last year the average American commuter
wasted 42 hours
in traffic congestion,
burning nearly $1,000 in gas
Many can't 'just fly':
In just the past four years, dozens of significant
cities have lost air service
. Memphis is down 66%, Milwaukee is down nearly half. Cleveland is no longer a hub.
Passengers now drive up to 75 miles to catch flights
.
Economic Engine:
Transit-Oriented communities connect people to opportunities!
NARP has helped carry the voices of many MPOs and planners to Capitol Hill, pressing the economic case for rail, transit, mobility and multi-modal investment.
FUND THE VISION!
NARP urges each of you to
ask your Appropriators
:
to support
$2.24bn in Fiscal 2017
for passenger rail;
to sustainably fund the
Consolidated Rail Infrastructure & Safety Improvements Program
(Sec. 11102);
to sustainably fund the
Federal State Partnership for State of Good Repair Program
(Sec. 11103);
to sustainably fund the
Restoration & Enhancement Grants
(Sec. 11104) program.

Easy way to help? Log on to
www.narprail.org/fund-fast-act-fy17/
"ACT" Three: You Can Help
Pennsylvania Opportunities
State-Supported Route Committee:
Should avoid crises like the one that threatened the Pennsylvanian in 2014, creating a forum for discussion and injecting the STB as a mediating force.
CRISI
: CRISI grants are explicitly targeted at reducing congestion and facilitating ridership growth along heavily traveled rail corridors. PennDOT has a good shot at securing funds to improve the heavy populated, relatively under-served New York City – Pittsburgh corridor.
Federal/State Partnership State of Good Repair (SOGR):
This section prefers joint applications to spur State participation; WPPR and PennDot's work in recent years have put the Keystone and Pennsylvanian in a very competitive position for these grants.
Increased Service
on the Pennsylvanian
NARP supports Western Pennsylvanians for Passenger Rail’s campaign for increasing Pittsburgh – New York City to three frequencies per day.

WPPR/Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership’s 2014 study found three daily round-trips would double the Pennsylvanian's ridership from 218,000 to 414,000.

Costs
Estimated $10.5 - $12.8 Million annual operating cost for Commonwealth
From WPPR: Capital costs, consisting of new train sets, “rolling stock,” are estimated to cost $37.4-74.9 million, depending on the train schedule that Amtrak and PennDOT pursue
Benefits
$10.5 million increase in farebox and F&B revenue
WPPR’s proposal would generate $302 million in direct and indirect benefits, including reduced emissions, accidents, and highway and bridge maintenance costs.
Keystone West Corridor
NEXT STEPS are prioritizing the improvement options based on public preferences and available funding - PennDOT and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) are now where the 'action' is...93% of public comments favored improvements to the corridor
Full transcript