By Steve Hymon, November 7, 2013
A trio of legislative updates are below from Metro CEO Art Leahy. The first one is perhaps the most interesting as it involves an issue we wrote about over the summer: a delay in receiving federal dollars because of the U.S. Labor Department’s concerns of California’s pension reform.
U.S. Department of Labor Moves to Certify Over $260 Million in Metro Grants
Today, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) moved to certify eight federal grants, valued at over $260 million, that were designated for our agency earlier this year. The grants were not certified by the DOL earlier this year because of the PEPRA/13C issue, which effectively froze our agency’s receipt of federal grants until the California State Legislature and Governor Brown moved to enact AB1222 into law. Among the federal grants certified by the DOL are funds for bus and rail preventive maintenance, bus acquisition and funds for an underground pedestrian passage between the Metro Orange Line and Red Line. With DOL’s certification of these grants, the Federal Transit Administration may now move to formally award these funds to our agency. I would like to extend my appreciation to the Metro Board, Governor Brown, members of the Los Angeles County Congressional and State Legislative Delegations, U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and senior officials at the U.S. Department of Transportation and Labor, for working cooperatively with our agency to favorably resolve the PEPRA/13C issue.
U.S. Senate Holds Hearing on Transportation Challenges Facing Seniors
Today, the U.S. Senate’s Special Committee on Aging held a hearing to explore the transportation challenges faced by seniors across the United States. The Special Committee on Aging noted that “the last White House Conference on Aging identified transportation as the third most important issue for seniors out of hundreds of options for priorities, and it is a particularly critical issue for seniors living in rural communities.”
Among those testifying at the hearing today was Therese McMillan, the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Deputy Administrator. In a blog posting earlier today, the FTA’s Deputy Administrator wrote that, “the sequester, and continuing resolutions have left [the Federal Transit Administration] unable to fund even modest technical assistance for grantees, reducing our ability to improve transportation coordination at a time when it is needed most.”
Governor Brown Announces Appointment of New Labor Secretary
Today, Governor Brown announced the appointment of David Lanier as Secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency. Mr. Lanier previously served as chief deputy legislative secretary for the Governor, and has extensive experience in the legislature. Mr. Lanier was instrumental in resolving the PEPRA/13C issue earlier this year, and I look forward to working with Mr. Lanier in his new capacity.