2004 Adopted Resolutions
72nd Annual Meeting
Boston

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SUPPORT OF CHANGES TO CHARTER REGULATIONS IN THE REAUTHORIZATION OF THE TRANSPORTATION EQUITY ACT FOR THE 21ST CENTURY (TEA-21)

     WHEREAS, public transportation moves nearly 30 million people a day in the United States and transit ridership has increased 20 percent since 1995; and

     WHEREAS, transit riders represent a cross-section of America ranging from the very young on their first outing to the zoo to individuals transitioning from welfare to the workplace, to seniors depending on transit services to get them to the grocery store, medical appointments or family gatherings; and

     WHEREAS, since 1987, when the current federal charter bus regulations were issued, public transportation agencies have been largely unable to provide community-based transportation to groups such as local governments, and nonprofit groups such as boys and girls clubs, the Kiwanis Club, local chambers of commerce, firefighters, and local charities; and

     WHEREAS, Congress directed in the 1991 ISTEA that FTA provide more flexibility for public transportation agencies in the charter service regulation through a demonstration program, and FTA withdrew the proposal for recommended changes on September 13, 2001; and

     WHEREAS, there is inconsistency in what is considered charter service, and service found to be mass transit in one region of the country could be considered prohibited “charter service” in another; and

     WHEREAS, public transportation agencies rely increasingly upon local funding to support their operations, and local governments and community groups grow increasingly frustrated that they cannot respond to community needs; and

     WHEREAS, public transportation agencies that receive federal funds should not compete with private over-the road carriers, they should also be allowed to provide community-based transportation to events, organizations and individuals so long as the service is of public interest in nature; and

     WHEREAS, much of the problem is created by the way in which the charter regulations are structured and can be resolved to protect both private industry and the local community; and

     WHEREAS, any proposal to penalize public transportation agencies without corresponding clarifications to the charter service regulations would undermine the ability of cities to receive community-based transportation,

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The United States Conferences of Mayors supports changes to the charter service regulations that would allow transit agencies to provide transportation service to local governments and social service agencies in the community, thereby creating a bright line distinction that removes the transit agency from the subjective confusion involved in the existing regulatory process; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Conference of Mayors urges the Administration and Congress to clarify the charter service regulations to allow public transportation agencies to provide community-based service directly to local governments and social service agencies; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that consideration be given to the concerns of the largest public transit agencies regarding their capacity to provide such service.