Las Vegas—Calling a secure, efficient transportation system vital to economic recovery, U.S. Secretary Norman Y. Mineta told hundreds of gathered public transit officials Sept. 24 that $3.4 million has been awarded to 83 agencies for full-scale emergency drills, $145 million will be sought for improving disability access to transit facilities and broad application of reauthorized federal funds should be preserved.


At the American Public Transportation Association annual conference, which together with its triannual exposition is drawing some 15,000 attendees, speaker APTA vice chair of government affairs Richard Ruddell noted that estimated national transit needs top $42 billion a year. Transit officials hope for $7.2 billion in 2003 from TEA-21 reauthorization, with $14.3 billion over the subsequent six years. Emphasized areas include $100 million total for buses, including the building of more dedicated bus rights of way or fixed guideways.

An official with a transportation design firm notes that building bus lanes could actually lead to more light rail routes. "If you plan it right...the infrastructure is there, and you have a built-in rail route," the official said. "Then you just put down tracks."