Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Join CFTE for TIC 2015 in Grand Rapids

2015 Transit Initiatives and Communities Conference
June 1 - 3 | Grand Rapids, MI
CFTE conducts the biennial Transit Initiatives and Communities Conference to bring together transit agencies, local officials, transportation supporters, advocates, and ballot measure campaign professionals to discuss the latest information on transportation ballot measures. Conference sessions offer insights into recent elections and key trends shaping campaigns. Sessions are interactive and provide extensive case studies. TIC is an excellent opportunity for networking and practical learning.
Get your room now!
To reserve a room at the Amway Grand Plaza at the discounted rate of $154.00, you can call the reservations department at 800-253-3590 and tell them that you are with the Center for Transportation Excellence, or you can click here to reserve online through the event website.
Have a session idea?
Help us shape the program for TIC by submitting your session ideas.Click here to tell us what you'd like to talk about in Grand Rapids.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Secretary Foxx Takes the Bus for Transportation Funding

This week, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx is hitting the highways with his transportation funding message, "Invest in America, Commit to the Future." Over the next few days, Sec. Foxx will visit projects under construction, factories that manufacture engines and buses, and places where funding is despretely needed.

You can follow along on the USDOT's website and on Twitter through @USDOT and @SecretaryFoxx. If the tour isn't coming to your town, Secretary Foxx still wants to hear your story. You can e-mail how transportation funding (or a lack of it) is effecting you at

You can be a part of the funding conversation by using #FundTranspoNow and be sure to follow us at @CFTENews.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Future Looks Greener for Commute Options

Last week the Senate Finance Committee approved a package of tax provisions which included restoring the transit pretax benefit for commuters to the same level drivers enjoy.  The tax benefit transit commuters enjoyed was slashed December 31 to pre-2009 levels due to Congressional inactivity; falling back to $130 from $245 while the parking benefit increased by $5 to $250. The change will allow all commuters whose employers offer transit benefits, allowing them to write-off the amount of money that they spend a month on transportation. The extension will last through 2015 and is retroactive to January 1.

New in this bill is a first-ever tax benefit for commuters using employer subsidized bike share, thanks to a Chuck Schumer-Mark Warner amendment that sailed through on a voice vote. The benefit lets cyclists take a $20 monthly tax deduction on membership fees for bike-share systems. The League of American Bicyclists President Andy Clarke said the vote shows a "simple, symbolic, and welcome recognition of this emerging new player in the urban transportation landscape."

Monday, March 31, 2014

Iowa Public Transit Association Funding Educational Materials

As the deadline for MAP-21 reauthorization draws near afrroups across the nation look to educate their Congressmen on the urgency of their funding needs, creative campaign resources are taking the stage for outreach efforts.
The Iowa Public Transit Association has come to DC to pass out the beautiful collateral posted below to help their Congressmen understand the dire need of funding for transit across the state.

As you work on your own campaigns, feel free to borrow from other great resources as you come across them. Our campaigns are all made better by working together and building off of one another's successes.

Friday, March 7, 2014

How much money does your state need to repair all those potholes?

So you pay gas taxes, right? Isn't that enough to fund transportation in your state?

Join Smart Growth America Wednesday, March 12, for the release of their latest edition of Repair Priorities. The Repair Priorities report takes a look at how each state DOT spends their transportation funds on repair and preservation versus expansion. SGA will host a webinar at 11:00 to discuss their findings, along with a panel with officials from state DOTs that are prioritizing road repair.  

To sign-up for the webinar and to download the report once it's released, visit Smart Growth America's website.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Obama Announces New Round of TIGER Grants, Transportation Funding Vision

Yesterday, February 26, President Obama announced his vision for transportation infrastructure, including a sixth round round of TIGER grants and a $302 billion four year reauthorization proposal to replace MAP-21 at an event at the recently restored, historic Union Station in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Since the President took office, the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) competitive grant program that has invested $3.5 billion in 270 projects across the country, including 100 in rural areas, creating jobs and spurring economic development. U.S. Department of Transportation received more than 5,300 applications requesting nearly $115 billion for projects since the beginning of the TIGER program.

Obama has expanded priorities for the latest round of TIGER grants including access to jobs and school, revitalizing and reconnecting neighborhoods. The funding for this latest round of grants is through the Consolidated Appropriations Act the President signed in January. The announcement today included social media pushes from the White House and featured the following tweet which was retweeted more than 2,400 times.

Retweet if you agree that America should have the best airports, the best roads, and the best trains in the world.

The message of today was that the President will continue to act when he can to promote job growth in the transportation sector and put more Americans back to work repairing and modernizing our roads, bridges, railways, and transit systems, and will continue to work with Congress ensure the nation's critical transportation programs don't end late this summer.

His vision to maintain the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund, which is slated to begin bouncing checks as early as July, includes a $150 billion in “one-time transition revenue from pro-growth business tax reform," but further details on what these reforms would be have not been given. During the speech, Obama said, "More Americans need access to efficient, affordable transit, [there is] no faster, better way for Congress to grow the economy"

“This vision will show how we can invest in the things we need to grow and create jobs by closing unfair tax loopholes, lowering tax rates, and making the system more fair,” stated by a press release distributed by the White House. “While the President will show how to fully pay for his proposal in this way, he will also make clear that he is open to ideas and wants to work with Congress in a bipartisan way to get this done.”

President Obama concluded Wednesday's comments in Minnesota by saying, "This is this the beginning, not the end; we have a lot more rail we have to lay."

Monday, February 24, 2014

Transit in Culture: The Po' Boy

We're in New Orleans this week for the APTA Marketing and Communications meeting with agencies across the nation that are looking a ballot initiatives this year including Ann Arbor, King County, Pinellas County, and Austin. New Orleans has a rich history steeped in good food, music, and transit. But did you know that transit gave birth to one of the most iconic New Orleans dishes, the Po' Boy?

In July of 1929 the motormen and conductors of the New Orleans streetcars went on strike following turbulent contract negotiations. The community rallied behind the 1100 employees who operated the streetcar, boycotting the system and donating goods to the strikers.

One restaurant, the Martin Brothers Coffee Stand, had a particularly strong bond with the operators. The brothers were former operators and railway union members themselves. The vowed to feed the "poor boys" through the strike, forever linking transit to the iconic sandwich.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Join us for the NAPTA Advocacy Day March 11th!

The 2014 APTA Legislative Conference is just around the corner!  If you're coming in for the conference or live in the DC area, be sure to join CFTE for the NAPTA Advocacy Day on Tuesday, March 11th at the JW Marriott.

This will be a great opportunity to promote your transit advocacy message on Capitol Hill!

Tentative Agenda:
8:00 am - 10:30 am
Salon III & IV

Start the day with breakfast and hearing from the lineup of 
Congressional Speakers at the APTA Legislative Conference
Speakers include: Rep. Bill Shuster (PA), 
Rep. Blumenauer (OR) and others
11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Salon I

NAPTA Meeting
Marnie Primmer, Chair
1:00 pm

Lunch on your own
1:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Capitol Hill

Afternoon Meetings on Capitol Hill
Please schedule with your Senators and Representatives
in advance
4:00 pm

Capitol Hill Briefing
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Rayburn Building

Evening Reception

There is no charge to attend, but we highly encourage you to register with us in advance. Please email your complete contact information, including organization affiliation, to Matt Tingstrom ( if you are planning to attend.

Lodging is available at the JW Marriott if you'll be joining us from out of town, and to help attendees save on hotel costs, we encourage you to make reservations through
ClubQuarters using the discount code "APTA."

We look forward to seeing you all in Washington, DC!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Getting Ready for the Ballot Box: Funding Your Campaign

CFTE and NAPTA our continuing our free training series with our third webinar, "Getting Ready for the Ballot Box" tomorrow, February 18. Our guest speakers for this event include Kristen Oblander, the campaign fundraiser who led the Atlanta campaign referendum to raise $6 million, Diana Williams of the Funders Network for Smart Growth, and Tom Shrout, who led St. Louis based Citizens for Modern Transit during their successful referendum campaign. Register online now!

And if you missed any of our previous webinars, the presentations and audio files are available on our website.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

APA Asks: What Makes a Great Place?

Since 2007, the American Planning Association has been recognizing great neighborhoods, streets, and public spaces across the country; places that offer better choices for how people work and live.  They are places that are enjoyable, safe, and desirable.  They are places where people want to be - not only to visit, but to live and work every day.  And many great places are defined by having great transportation options, including mass transit and transit oriented development. 

This year we're asking you to help find places where transit has been transformative and helped to produce a genuinely great place.  Has your neighborhood, street, or public place been transformed by investments in transit?  Has transit in your community led to economic development and mixed use development and housing?

You can read more about the criteria for APA's Great Places on their website, and submit your own great place online.  Tell us what you think makes a place great, and where we can find places made great by transit by leaving us a comment.