Archive for August, 2010

Transportation Funding Inequities

Friday, August 27th, 2010

by Lance Meister

I saw this article and thought it was worth posting here for others to see.  Those of us in the transit business often complain about the disadvantages we face relative to highways and airports, and the bias that exists towards “subsidized” transportation modes.  The following article really sums up quite well the stark difference in funding that exists between highways and transit systems.  It also seems to suggest that highways might also be subsidized by the government.  Gasp!

It would be interesting to see if and/or how much the curves have changed in the last few years.  I’m guessing that the relationship is probably identical.  For all the hype over the amount of money in the stimulus funding for high speed rail, it still pales in comparison to the amount that was provided for highways.  We are still a car culture, but things do seem to be shifting ever so slightly. 

If you care about transit funding, you should contact your representatives and let them know.  The next multi-year transportation funding bill is still being worked on, and you should let your voice be heard.  You could also consider joining APTA, which is a great organization that helps promote transit in the US.

I have to say that I also really like the title of the article, which is probably much more apropos than the title I chose for this post!

Not just a girl thing

Monday, August 16th, 2010

by Robyn Hartz

If you are not currently a member of Womens Transportation Seminar (WTS), I strongly urge you to join!  Now, don’t let the name fool you, it is not just for women.  It’s for anyone in any aspect of the Transportation Industry: financing, marketing, construction, planning, engineering, maintenance, state, city, federal, or private sector.  This blog is not to try to recruit you, dear reader, but to tell you about my experiences with WTS.  First, it is important that you know that I may be biased, since I believe my WTS Chapter, the Central Virginia Chapter, to be the best.  Many may say things like this, but I believe it of this chapter.   I have been a member in the chapter since 2009, and the Diversity Chair of my chapter since December.  This role has given me one of the most rewarding professional experiences I have ever had. 

I have moved around a bit, and have been associated with other WTS chapters, but none quite like the CVC chapter.  At first, I was skeptical of going to the luncheons.  Other WTS luncheons I have attended have been very big and impersonal – like finding a spot to sit in a big high school cafeteria.  But after my first luncheon with WTS CVC I was hooked.  The luncheons are small, around 30 people or so, and the whole Board is very approachable and easy to talk to.  I met with the chapter president, vice-president, membership chair, and plenty of other people involved with the board that were just as excited in their roles with the chapter as I am now.  I received follow-up calls and emails from the chapter, checking up on me and seeing if I wanted to join.  It is a wonderful thing in this fast-paced society for people to take the time to do such small niceties.   

Enthusiasm is contagious.   So was the thought that this young chapter,  not even 4 years old when I joined, could use my help and I could contribute to shaping something so influential.   It didn’t take much convincing that I should take a leadership position and work with the board.  The position of Diversity Chair was open, so I snagged it.  The appeal was not only that I could get involved, but also that this particular role had not been filled before, so I could help to form it.  Although that sentence sounds like it should have ended with evil laughter, it is not so maniacal a sentiment.  It is also more challenging not to have a predecessor or predefined role to help me to determine where to take this committee.  I admit, I have floundered a bit so far in the role, but I am getting my sea legs, if you will.    

One of the current tasks that I have set for myself is to contact other Diversity Chairs in other chapters to see what they are doing with the position.  What could be a better way to introduce myself to women in all types of positions throughout the public and private sector than to have common ground like WTS and diversity to start the conversation with?  I’m so excited for this opportunity that I’m giddy as a schoolgirl!  For anyone reading this that knows me, they won’t be surprised by that.

I will end by saying again that if you are not a member of WTS you should definitely become one!  And soon!  You don’t want to miss out on your chance to help shape things to your own will.  Evil laugher (mwahahaha) is intended there.