“There is much to do in the next 13 months,” the always-upbeat Millar said to an audience of several hundred APTA members. “Let’s do it together.” Millar said the organization’s primary focus will be on getting a new multiyear federal transportation authorization bill crafted and passed. The current bill, SAFETEA-LU, expired over a year ago. Millar applauded President Obama’s efforts to urge the U.S. Congress to pass an authorization bill quickly. “Hopefully, Congress will take action as soon as it is back in session,” Millar said.
Millar said that, after several months of declining ridership, decreases in orders for APTA Business Members (suppliers), and many agencies having to make drastic reductions in service and employment—all due to a recessionary economy—“we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.” He noted that, in the second quarter of 2010, national transit ridership, at 2.5 billion trips, was up 0.25%. “While that’s not a big number, it’s an encouraging sign,” Millar said.
Millar has spent 40 years in public transportation, the past 15 as APTA president. He is a past recipient of Railway Age’s W. Graham Claytor, Jr. Award for Distinguished Service to Passenger Transportation.