Metro Magazine

JUL 2014

Magazine serving the bus and rail transit & motorcoach operations since 1904

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Hundreds of professionals from both the public and private sector gath- ered in Montreal for the International Practicum on Innovative Transit Fund- ing & Financing — an in-depth, hands- on, and interactive workshop explor- ing new and non-traditional funding and financing tools for public trans- portation agencies. The event was hosted by the Amer- ican Public Transportation Associ- ation (APTA) and the Canadian Ur- ban Transit Association (CUTA) and held prior to APTA's Rail Conference in Montreal in mid-June. "If you poll the average transit agen- cy or business member at APTA, and asked what their top concern is, fund- ing and financing is always number one," said Petra Mollet, APTA's chief of staff. "We feel we need to really help the industry look at experiences other agencies from around the world have had in finding new business models and revenue sources, in an in-depth way, so it can be discussed and exam- ined to see how those models could transfer over here in North America." "Transit is trending upward, yet in spite of those very favorable trends, very often transit agencies are caught up in a budget crisis." Added Art Guz- zetti, APTA's VP, policy. "The trends are good, but if there's an annual bud- get crisis, there is a piece missing. In- ternationally, they have some things that work from the funding side, so we can really learn from that." The practicum featured six modules, with each examining a successful case study of a funding or financing solu- tion from agencies around the world. Representing the U.S., public and private sector partners from Los Ange- les, spoke about a successful ballot ini- tiative that imposed a half-cent sales tax to support the development of re- gional transportation projects, provid- ing the foundation for a major capital initiative in the city. Other modules discussed everything from the private-sector's role in the de- velopment of London's CrossRail sys- tem to ways Japan was able to generate revenue outside of the farebox, as well as congestion pricing in Stockholm, Sweden; public-private partnerships in Canada; and price-to-market fare strategies in Germany. "Because they are public sector fi- nanced, many of our members do not have the opportunity to go out and see other models firsthand, so it's our re- sponsibility to bring those models to our members," Mollett said of the practicum. This is the first time APTA has held a practicum focused solely on interna- tional funding and financing solutions. To put the modules together, APTA, CUTA and UITP formed an advisory council rounded out by U.S. and Ca- nadian transit agencies and business- es. The council selected a case study to base each module around that took a fresh funding or financing approach, which could also be adapted by North American agencies. To maintain the opportunity for au- dience participation, the attendance for the practicum was capped at 180 people. "We deliberately kept it small be- cause we wanted to maintain an in- timate atmosphere so we can have a maximum amount of interaction be- tween the audience, the speakers and the participants," Mollet said. Both audio and video presenta- tions from many of the modules and speeches from were set to be available for anybody interested, following the practicum. Mollet and Guzzetti explained that APTA is planning an international study tour next year to help build on the practicum and provide members a chance to see successful transporta- tion projects from around the world. "Our day-to-day reason for being is to constantly help members network and make connections," said Mollet. "This Practicum is just a sample of the extra effort we are making as an orga- nization to give access to these innova- tive funding and financing tools." 6 < m ETRO m AGAZINE JULY 2014 metro news Practicum focuses on innovative funding, fnancing solutions The practicum, held in June in conjunction with APTA's Rail Conference, focused on projects around the world that used innovative funding and fnancing solutions, including the TransLink Canada Line, which uses a public-private partnership. Jeremy Andrews

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