FTA News:The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced Friday approximately $1.2 million in recent grant awards to eight tribal governments, including the Tesuque Pueblo, Jicarilla Apache Nation and Pueblo of Pojoaque.These awards are part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed by President Donald J. Trump March 27, 2020. The tribal governments receiving funds to support transit operations during the COVID-19 public health emergency are as follows:New MexicoThe Tesuque Pueblo Administration will receive $12,709 to support transit operations north of Santa Fe;The Jicarilla Apache Nation will receive $10,269 for continued transit operations in North Central New Mexico; andThe Pueblo of Pojoaque will receive $1,512 to support its transit operations in the northeast corner of the state.OklahomaThe Comanche Nation will receive $464,772 to support operating, administrative and preventive maintenance costs, including salaries, cleaning supplies and driver protection barriers to support its transit service throughout central Oklahoma.New YorkThe Seneca Nation of Indians will receive $407,650 to support its STS transit system in western New York.MontanaThe Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy Reservation will receive $126,719 to maintain transit operations in north central Montana;The Fort Belknap Indian Community will receive $107,554 to support transit operations; east of Great Falls, andThe Northern Cheyenne Tribe will receive $74,941 for preventive maintenance on transit vehicles, equipment, and facilities to support its service east of Billings.See FTA’s apportionment tables for the totals apportioned to each area. (This funding is based on the agency’s current request and may not represent the full amount the agency will receive.)“This historic $25 billion in grant funding will ensure our nation’s public transportation systems can continue to provide services to the millions of Americans who continue to depend on them,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.“We know many of our nation’s public transportation systems are facing extraordinary challenges and these funds will go a long way to assisting our transit industry partners in battling COVID-19,” FTA Deputy Administrator K. Jane Williams said. “These federal funds will support operating assistance to transit agencies of all sizes providing essential travel and supporting transit workers across the country who are unable to work because of the public health emergency.” In addition to the CARES Act funding, FTA has issued a Safety Advisory with recommended actions for transit agencies to reduce the risk of Coronavirus (COVID-19) among transit employees and passengers. Transit agencies should follow the current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommendations for the spread of COVID-19, which include face coverings, social distancing, frequent hand washing, facility and vehicle cleaning, and other measures to the maximum extent practicable.
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Today, 13 April, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will join the State of California in sharing information on current planning activities for possible wind development off the state’s coast during a public meeting in San Luis Obispo.San Luis Obispo County Supervisors Bruce Gibson and Adam Hill will host the meeting, which will be streamed live on the SLO-SPAN network website at www.slo-span.org.Bruce Gibson represents the Second District which extends along the California coast from the Monterey County line in the north and past the City of Morro Bay and portions of the City of San Luis Obispo in the south. Adam Hill represents the Third District which extends along the California coast from Grover Beach in the south to areas northwest of Avila Beach.In October 2016, BOEM and the State of California convened the BOEM California Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force (Task Force), a partnership of federal, state, local agencies and tribal governments, as a forum to provide information to the decision-making process for planning future offshore renewable energy development in federal waters offshore California.BOEM and the State of California are currently gathering environmental information and ocean use data for the entire coast of California to inform the offshore wind planning process. Initial emphasis for this effort is on California’s Central Coast region due to viable wind energy resources, current commercial interest by offshore wind developers, and available existing transmission infrastructure.San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Gibson invited representatives of the Task Force to attend and share information about offshore wind planning activities with the local community. To that end, BOEM and the State of California will provide information on the planning timeline, discuss additional opportunities for public participation throughout the process, and provide a demonstration of the Data Basin Portal, a web-based spatial planning tool that will be used to collect and share information on offshore uses and resources that will inform future decision making.In addition to the scheduled presentations, the public will have the opportunity to provide input and ask questions of the Task Force representatives.
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He says: “Nearly fifty participants have already enrolled and more are coming daily. Representatives from some of the largest names in the projects world, including major independent companies and multinationals as well, will be in attendance. There will also be representation from related industries such as marine surveyors. The popularity of this seminar only goes to show that there is definitely a need in the industry for the type knowledge that this course will impart.”The GPLN is a non-exclusive professional projects logistics network of independent companies specialising in international projects movements by air, sea and land as well as specialised lifts and the special handling of oversized, out-of-gauge and heavy lift cargo.For further information about the course, including registration and fees, visit: www.gpln.net/seminar/index.html
Jonathan Goldsmith is secretary general of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe, which represents about one million European lawyers through its member bars and law societies. He blogs weekly for the Gazette on European affairs Here are some statistics which may surprise you (apart from the first sentence): Based on 2010 estimates, the UK had the largest share of the European legal services market followed closely by Germany. In total the UK and German legal services markets accounted for just under 50% of the total estimated revenues of the legal services sector in Europe. There was an average of 1.80 lawyers per 1,000 head of population in 2008 in Europe (in 2008, in the United States, there was an estimated 3.82 lawyers per 1,000 head of population). Obviously, the proportion of lawyers per capita in the EU varies significantly from state to state. The average revenue per lawyer at the EU level was estimated at €110,270 in 2010 (which is generally the same as the 2005 estimate). However, the average revenue per lawyer varies across different EU member states: for example, the UK and France estimates are considerably above the average, while the estimates for Italy and Spain are below the average reflecting, in part, the relatively higher number of lawyers per capita in the latter countries. It is estimated that legal services revenues amounted to about 1.1% of GDP in 2010 in the five largest European markets. (The US equivalent was estimated at approximately 1.8% in 2007). The estimated value of the legal services market in Europe, as measured by the total revenues received by law firms, was €113.6bn in 2010. Total revenues increased by an estimated 10% (or €10.4bn) over the five-year period from 2005-2010. By 2015, it has been estimated the size of the European market will reach €148.2bn, representing growth of over 25% on the 2010 estimates. These findings come from an independent report commissioned by the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) from the Regulatory Policy Institute (authors: professor George Yarrow and Dr Christopher Decker) called Assessing the economic significance of the professional legal services sector in the European Union. It is unfair, even wrong, of me to begin with the statistics, because theirs is not a quantitative analysis. In fact, they specifically say – and the above statistics should be viewed in this light – ‘Our general view of attempts to quantify the economic impacts of the legal services sector on economic performance is that, although they can provide one or two high-level insights and can be helpful in developing new statistics, there are significant limitations to this type of work, and the results of these quantification exercises should be approached with considerable caution.’ So what does the report say? It is 84 pages long, including a five-page executive summary, and says many things. But it has an important message for governments and regulators. It finds that the laws and institutions of a legal system condition and determine economic performance. Institutions that are stable and credible facilitate economic development and lead to higher levels of economic activity. Lawyers actively contribute, through their everyday actions and conduct, to both the shape of a legal system and how effectively it operates and functions. There is, therefore, an important relationship between legal services and economic performance, stemming from the important role that lawyers’ services play – beyond the legal services field – in facilitating and sustaining markets and market growth. As a result, it is vital that legal services markets should function effectively. And here comes the message for the Legal Services Board and other market-driven regulators or governments: potential regulatory reforms (that could affect the quality or quantity of legal services) require careful assessment in conceptual and analytical frameworks that are broad enough to encompass the wider economic effects. It is this last sentence which should be kept in mind by a body like the LSB, which has been gung-ho in the past about market restructuring without always carrying out the necessary and appropriate economic impact research in advance. I hope that the report will be widely read, and its message absorbed by those responsible for the future direction of the legal profession.
HARDWARE and software to integrate broad-band and internet-protocol communications networks have been developed for the transport industry by Neumann Elektronik of Mülheim an der Ruhr. Neumann’s new Multifunctional Digital Communications system (MDK) was unveiled in September at the InnoTrans 2000 show in Berlin.MDK will allow operators to manage all communications links in and out of integrated control centres, including safety-critical GSM-R radio data links, voice communications, ISDN and fax. It can also handle CCTV links to and from stations or depots, and automated passenger information announcements. Running on standard PC-based hardware, the software includes real-time system management and fault diagnosis with remote intervention functions.Neumann Elektronik GmbH, GermanyReader Enquiry Number 149
READERS may recall that parts of the tram network in the French city of Bordeaux have a novel surface-contact power supply system known as Innorail, chosen to avoid littering the city centre with overhead wires and masts (RG 2.04 p89).There was trouble even when President Chirac inaugurated the first section of the 43·7 km network last December, but the issue shot up the city’s agenda following opening on July 3 of the final section of Line B to Pessac. The Innorail equipment caused more trouble, and matters failed to improve over the next few days; services were interrupted for 10h on July 7.All this was too much for Mayor Alain Juppé, who on July 8 wrote to supplier Alstom demanding at least 95 to 98% reliability by mid-September. The problem centres on the switching boxes set into the track, which have proved to be insufficiently robust and not fully watertight, made worse by inadequate drainage. Philippe Mellier, President of Alstom Transport, promised to have the issue resolved by the end of August. He said teams were working round the clock to replace the boxes, of which there are 980. We understand that they have been replaced at least once already.What happens if Juppé’s threshold is not attained is not clear, but one proposal would see Innorail abandoned for Phase 2. There is even a suggestion that the existing third-rail sections could be rebuilt with unsightly overhead wires. Oh là là!