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10/8/2008



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

APTA recognizes 'outstanding' agencies, individuals at annual conference


Yesterday, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) recognized winners of the 2008 APTA Awards at its annual meeting in San Diego.

The association presented the Regional Transportation District of Denver (RTD) with the 2008 Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award. Recognizing a transit agency that provides more than 30 million annual passenger trips, the award now has been won by RTD three times. The agency consistently posted ridership records year after year and already has surpassed 2020 ridership projects for its light-rail system, APTA said. Last year, RTD posted 99.96 percent on-time performance on its light-rail system.

APTA also named Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Joe Calabrese the 2008 Outstanding Public Transportation Manager. Since taking over the agency's reins in 2000, Calabrese has instituted a back-to-basics plan designed to improve customer service, enhance GCRTA's image and strengthen the agency's finances, APTA said. GCRTA since has consolidated operations and reduced annual operating expenses by $25 million, while posting five-straight years of ridership gains. Later this month, the agency will open the Euclid Corridor bus rapid transit line, the first non-rail project to obtain New Starts funding.

Meanwhile, Joe Alexander was inducted into the 2008 APTA Hall of Fame, which honors individuals who have a long and distinguished transit career, made extraordinary contributions to public transportation and actively participated in APTA activities. A 23-year Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority board member (including four separate terms as chairman), Alexander helped oversee the construction and opening of the agency's 103-mile heavy-rail system. As APTA chair in 1983, he helped establish the Women in Transit Initiative. In the 1980s and 1990s, Alexander helped create the Virginia Railway Express.

APTA also named AECOM's North America Transit/Rail/Freight Market Segment Director Jerome Premo the Outstanding Public Transportation Business Member. As chairman of the Business Members' Programs subcommittee, he helps develop educational sessions for APTA conferences. Premo also leads APTA working sessions and serves as an informal mentor.

Finally, APTA recognized Illinois State Rep. Julie Hamos with the Local Distinguished Service Award. A public transit advocate, she helped secure an additional $530 million in permanent annual operating funds for Chicago-area transit agencies earlier this year.





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