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News Digest DOT 61-16

Thursday, May 18, 2017

BTS Releases National Census of Ferry Operators Highlights - The U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) today released Highlights of the 2014 National Census of Ferry Operators (NCFO). Key findings indicate that 115.1 million passengers were carried on ferries in the United States and its territories in 2014. These passengers were transported by 128 ferry operators across the nation who reported providing service through 441 terminals on 741 unique route segments in 38 states and one U.S. territory, using a fleet of almost 500 active vessels. Comprehensive results from the 2014 census, as well as data from previous censuses, can be found on the NCFO home page. The NCFO is a biennial census of all known ferry boat operations within the U.S. and its territories. Ferry operations included within the scope of the NCFO are those providing itinerant, fixed route, and common carrier passenger and/or vehicle ferry service. Railroad car float operations are also included within the scope of the NCFO. BTS has scheduled a webinar for Tuesday, July 26, at 1:30 p.m., titled, National Census of Ferry Operators. Media Contact: Dave Smallen (202) 366-5568.

DOT Announces Continuation of Advisory Committee for Aviation Consumer Protection, Solicits Applications and Nominations for New Members.  The U.S. Department of Transportation announced today that it will strengthen the Advisory Committee for Aviation Consumer Protection (ACACP), even if it is not extended by Congress.  We will solicit new members from consumer groups, airlines, airports, and state or local governments, who will bring their expertise to bear to evaluate existing aviation consumer protection programs and make recommendations to the Secretary for improvements.  Over the past four years, the committee has given consumers a voice at DOT, leading to actions requiring airlines to make websites and kiosks at airports accessible for people with disabilities, requiring airports to provide relief areas in terminals for service animals, and creating educational materials for consumers to understand airline services.  The Department’s most recent proposed consumer protections for air travelers, scheduled to be finalized this fall, address several additional airline customer service improvements recommended by the ACACP.  The Federal Register notice, which contains instructions for applying and nominating members, can be found here.  Contact:  Caitlin Harvey:  (202) 366-4570.

PHMSA Announces a Notice of Public Meeting on Hazardous Materials Transportation. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is announcing a Notice of Public Meeting titled “International Standards on the Transport of Dangerous Goods” to gain input from interested parties concerning proposals submitted to the 49th session of the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (UN SCOE TDG).  The UN SCOE TDG may consider these proposals for the 20th Revised Edition of the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods Model Regulations.  The PHMSA public meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 14, 2016, from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon EST at the DOT Headquarters, West Building, Conference Room 4, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE Washington, DC  20590.  The notice also references an associated meeting to be hosted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  OSHA is hosting the meeting in preparation for the 31st session of the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals.  The OSHA public meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 14, 2016, from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm EST at the DOT Headquarters, West Building, Conference Room 4, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE Washington, DC 20590.  Contact for media: Joe Delcambre (202) 493-0730.

Record-high Number of Proposals Received for $377.5 Million University Transportation Centers Competition
WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology Greg Winfree today announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation received 212 applications for the competitive University Transportation Centers (UTC) grant program, where a maximum of $377.5 million in funding will be available over five years for up to 35 grants as part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. This year, for the first time, two-year institutions of higher education are eligible to partner in the UTC consortia.  This marks the largest number of proposals submitted in the history of the UTC program.  Awards will be made no later than December 4, 2016, with Federal fiscal year (FY) 16 funds (up to $72.5 million) awarded at that time.  Subsequent awards to the selected UTCs using Federal FY17 - FY20 funding will be made annually after that date, subject to availability of funds and grantee compliance with grant terms and conditions. Under the previous Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) legislation, 142 proposals were submitted for the same number of grants. The work of UTCs will align with the Department’s vision to move the United States “Beyond Traffic” and towards a 21st Century transportation system that moves people and goods more efficiently. Contact: Nancy Wilochka (202) 366-5128.