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Senate Requests Trio of Transit Related Reports from GAO

The Dictionary of Terms compiled by Metro's Dorothy Peyton Gray Transportation Library defines BOARD BOX as "an interoffice memo to board members that does not require board action. The board box provides an avenue for staff to track status of projects or programs, and includes information of upcoming workshops and other special events." While not posted on the Metro website access has been provided in some cases to Board Box items via the Metro Board Archives.

The U.S. Senate Banking Committee wants more info on BRT and other transit projects. Photo:##http://www.lightrailnow.org/facts/fa_brt_2006-10a-2.htm##Light Rail Now!##

One agency that does post its Board Box is Access Services, the consolidated Transportation Services Agency for Los Angeles County that also administers on behalf of the fixed route transit agencies in Los Angeles County complementary paratransit mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The December Access Services Board Box includes an intriguing bit of news in the report of Andre Colaiace, who is Deputy Executive Director for Planning and Governmental Affairs at the agency. Colaiaice attending a meeting of the American Public Transit Association (a trade group) Legislative Committee in Washington, DC.

At the meeting he learned that this past summer the Senate Banking Committee requested the Government Accountability Office (GAO) undertake studies on Bus Rapid Transit, Paratransit Services and the Coordination of Transportation Services (see pp.4-6 of the Board Box for a reproduction of the letter from the Senate to the GAO). Colaiaice notes "I have already talked to the researcher for the Coordination Study and am planning to discuss Access Services with the group who is working on the paratransit study."

This totally flew under the radar screen. I'll be curious to see what the GAO finds. BTW, over a decade ago I remember a GAO report dealt with coordination. That is where I first learned of an obscure entity called the Coordinating Council for Access and Mobility whose mandate is "simplify customer access to transportation, reduce duplication of transportation services, streamline federal rules and regulations that may impede the coordinated delivery of services, and improve the efficiency of services using existing resources". Laudable goals but cross-agency cooperation has proven elusive. The GAO report of all those years ago said as much and I won't be surprised if the new one ends up making the same conclusion.

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