The U.S. Conference of Mayors
2007 ADOPTED RESOLUTIONS
TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS

SUPPORT OF CHANGES TO FTA CHARTER SERVICE REGULATIONS

WHEREAS, public transportation moves nearly 30 million people a day in the United States and transit ridership has increased 25 percent since 1995, from 7.7 billion riders to 10 billion riders annually; and

WHEREAS, public transit is a key part of the solution to energy independence and climate change and should be utilized to the maximum extent possible;

WHEREAS, public transportation agencies can address specific community needs that are often currently unmet by private transit providers, including provision of accessible equipment, or equipment that supports community air quality requirements; 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 the Federal Transit Administration in the 2005 SAFETEA-LU to update the 1987 charter regulation and consider means by which public agencies might provide community-based services; and

WHEREAS, FTA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in February 2007 that goes beyond the intent of Congress in SAFETEA-LU by redefining public transportation, thereby making it impossible for cities to use their local transit agencies for many community events such as shuttles to festivals; and

WHEREAS, cities are increasingly called upon to provide substantial local funding to support transit operations, yet cannot use the public transit agency to respond to basic community transit services; and

WHEREAS, one dollar of federal funding used to purchase a public agency vehicle, or even to fund a maintenance facility used to maintain said vehicle renders that vehicle completely subject to the charter regulation; and

WHEREAS, private transportation providers have become eligible for federal funding in certain circumstances yet remain exempt from charter bus regulations which are supposed to prohibit federal funding from being used for charter; and

WHEREAS, federally-funded public transportation agencies and private over-the-road carriers should cooperate to provide community-based transportation to events, organizations and individuals for a commercially reasonable price; 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; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that such charter regulations permit public transportation agencies to provide transportation for community events, where such service would serve a public interest; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that such charter regulation permit public transportation agencies to provide community-based transportation to schools, universities, and other community institutions where such service would serve a public interest;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that public transportation agencies shall not be punished by charter regulations without clear standards defining "charter service" and appropriate due 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 FTA clarify the definition of charter, recognizing that moving large numbers of people attending a public event is public transportation; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that vehicles acquired or maintained with any amount of federal funds be treated the same, whether privately or publicly owned; and that a de minimus level of federal funding used to acquire or maintain a vehicle, that would not trigger application of the charter regulation be identified; 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.

2007 The U.S. Conference of Mayors
Tom Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. 202.293.7330 ~ Fax 202.293.2352
info@usmayors.org