NAPT MultiView News Brief
March 1, 2011

Thanks to Mr. Wellington and his colleagues, America loves the bus!
Department of Transportation Fastlane
If you've never heard of Mr. Wellington, you probably don't ride the school bus to Takoma Park Elementary School in Montgomery County, Md., where he was warmly celebrated as part of Love The Bus month. Wellington Varona Abud drives one of the 480,000 school buses on America's roads each day. The Takoma Park kids he shepherds are among the 26 million schoolchildren who use the safest possible way of getting to and from school. As Congressman Chris Van Hollen said, "There may be many different school systems across the country, but the one thing they all have in common is that yellow school bus. It's truly a national icon."More

NBA All-Star: 'You have to love our school buses!'
Utah Public Education
VideoBriefDid you know that there are more than 500,000 students in Utah who receive a public education? And without school buses, thousands of them would not be able to get to school, says USOE Pupil Transportation Specialist Murrell Martin. "Since Utah became a state, public education has been vital to our success. Today, school buses make it possible for nearly 200,000 of our kids to access public education," he says. USOE has helped create this new public service announcement on school buses, featuring former NBA All-Star Mark Eaton.More

New York imposes stiffest ban on drivers using hand-held phones
Reuters
The nation's toughest ban on drivers gabbing on handheld cell phones recently took effect in New York, where violators now face penalty points on their licenses as well as hefty fines. The crackdown is meant to reduce the number of crashes tied to "distracted driving," said state transportation officials.More

School bus contractors concerned over rising gas prices
KOB-TV
VideoBrief$5 for a gallon of gas. Many oil experts say that's what you could be paying next year if the chaos in the Middle East continues. For school buses, the rising cost is troubling news. Bus contractors in New Mexico are getting less money from the state, and are about to pay more to Albuquerque Public Schools.More

Texas putting bucks behind buses
The Bond Buyer
As Texas urban transit authorities continue to expand light-rail lines to ease congestion, they also are investing heavily in their workhorse buses, combining local and federal funds to develop cleaner, more efficient systems. The Texas projects are among 10 startups across the country recommended for a combined $569.3 million of federal grants. Others include rail and BRT projects in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Oregon, Utah and Washington.More

Rising oil prices pose new threat to US economy
The New York Times
The American economy just can't catch a break. Last year, as things started looking up, the European debt crisis flustered the fragile recovery. Now, under similar economic circumstances, comes the turmoil in the Middle East.More

Transforming the highway trust fund
National Journal
A single paragraph in the Transportation Department's fiscal 2012 budget could fundamentally alter the funding mechanism for highways and other transit. The administration is calling for replacing the current highway trust fund with a "transportation trust fund" that will have separate accounts for highways, transit, high-speed rail and a national infrastructure bank.More

Federal broadband service map reveals need for connectivity
eSchool News
The National Broadband Map, released by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration Feb. 17, reveals that while the majority of schools are connected to the Internet, those connection speeds are not meeting the needs of students and teachers. NTIA created the National Broadband Map in collaboration with the Federal Communications Commission, using data that each state, territory and the District of Columbia collected from broadband service providers or other data sources.More

Airfares expected to keep rising
The Boston Globe
Airlines, struggling to keep up with skyrocketing fuel costs, have raised domestic ticket prices five times since the beginning of the year. That's one more increase than was issued in all of last year and two more than in 2009, according to the travel website FareCompare.com. The hikes, which range from $4 to $10 apiece round-trip, have bumped up round-trip domestic airfare $25 to $60.More

Streetcar revival means more mobility, more American jobs
Department of Transportation Fastlane
Recently, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood blogged about Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff's visit to Tampa for the grand opening of the TECO Streetcar Line extension to Whiting Street. This $5.3 million project links downtown Tampa to residential areas, restaurants, hotels and entertainment. But the TECO Line is just one part of a wave of streetcar projects sweeping across the nation, and last month the Community Streetcar Coalition held their 2011 Streetcar Summit to assess the promising achievements of the previous year and plan for the next 12 months.More