requirements and crumbling infrastructure have simply not been properly addressed. Technical assistance and knowledge transfer has been poor, prompting MTA and other legacy systems to turn to other organizations such as the AAR, AREMA, TRB, UITP, ENO Foundation and Network Rail Consulting for this support. This work is not particularly coordinated, and APTA plays no role in it. “APTA’s governance structure is way out of whack with legacy systems and commuter rail operations, which represent 60% of public transportation ridership. There is no voice on the Executive Committee, and the legacy systems have become largely irrelevant in key APTA policy circles. Newer western properties dominate the Executive Committee and policymaking. There is a strong view that APTA is primarily a ‘bus and trolley’ group. “Form is more important than substance. There are way too many
conferences (13 per year), and they are not particularly coordinated for maximum effect. Further, APTA does not provide substantive solutions to the problems that become particularly costly and complicated on the older and more complicated systems. “Challenges facing commuter rail systems generally have been ignored by APTA. Over the past five to eight years, commuter rail agencies have been under near-constant assault by onerous and costly legislative directives. They can detract from the mission, drain resources, harm their served communities, and be demoralizing to the rider, the workforce and contractors. Two recent examples of costly federal mandates include the 2008 unfunded Positive Train Control requirement and the 2015 increase in the liability cap. Only at the very end of the legislative process did APTA get on top of these issues (and staff did a good job in the final analysis). However,
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APTA should have reached a firm position and strategy at a far earlier time. The expenditures required by these mandates alone cost billions. They divert critical resources such as core capacity upgrades, procurement of new equipment, and refurbishment or replacement of aging rolling stock as well as other critical safety and risk reduction and mitigation strategies. “We are obviously disappointed as NewYork MTA’s membership is important to us,” said APTA Vice President, Communications and Marketing Rosemary Sheridan. “We are continuing the conversation with MTA and we are working hard to show the value of APTA membership to them and all of our members. We believe that continued partnership and collaboration among MTA, APTA, and the overall public transportation industry is important as APTA serves the public interest and represents all modes of public transportation.”
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4/18/16 5:33 PM May 2016 Railway Age 11