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USDOT selects The Ray as Capacity Builder for 15 communities in launch of national Thriving Communities Program

The Ray partners with USDOT to boost transportation projects in 15 communities in the Thriving Communities Program with $5.1M in technical assistance.



ATLANTA, Ga. – May 10, 2023 – The Ray announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has awarded $5.1 million to The Ray and partners Arcadis, InfraStrategies, and Beverly Scott Associates to support 15 communities as a Networked Communities capacity builder within the USDOT’s Thriving Communities Program. The 15 communities matched with The Ray are located near ports, airports, freight, and rail facilities. Community infrastructure needs and priorities will drive The Ray’s capacity building strategy and focus on mobility, access, housing, economic issues, workforce development, and environmental justice. 

The Thriving Communities Program provides two years of no-cost, intensive technical assistance to under-resourced or disadvantaged communities to help identify, develop, and deliver transportation projects that can both strengthen and transform their community. The technical assistance and capacity building approach includes support for all stages of projects, from planning and permitting to procurement and contract administration, through construction, operation and maintenance. 

“My father, Ray C. Anderson, helped to green the White House and chaired a sustainability committee under two Presidents,” said Harriet Langford, founder of The Ray. “Yet again, through The Ray’s partnership with Thriving Communities, his commitment to net-zero, his belief in technology for good, and his influence through proving – then scaling fast – will be shared across the country with communities that need it most today.” 

About the Thriving Communities Program

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act provides historic, unprecedented federal investment in transportation and infrastructure. Before now, local communities have not been traditional partners to the federal government and have not had the opportunity to receive direct federal funding. The Thriving Communities Program recognizes that these communities are at a disadvantage when competing for federal funds. The Program is designed to bridge the resources gap by pairing these communities with organizations that offer a variety of capacity building services, intended to give communities the ability to compete for and leverage these funds to build and sustain their own infrastructure development. 

“The approach of the Thriving Communities Program centers on equity, community leadership, and workforce development to build and embed long-lasting, community-driven infrastructure solutions,” said Laura Rogers, Deputy Director of The Ray.

The capacity builder team led by The Ray will work on the front lines with the 15 Networked Communities to ensure they are in a position to compete for and benefit from federal resources, creating transformational opportunities to plan and implement impactful infrastructure projects. The Ray’s proven record of success working with local, state, and regional government agencies, coupled with wide ranging relationships with industry through public-private-philanthropic partnerships (P4), will be leveraged to lead this capacity building approach. The capacity builder team is entirely woman-led and understands the importance of building wealth, empowering communities, and providing equitable access to support people and communities so they can thrive. The team will support these communities by providing:

  • Technology transfer 
  • Connections to private sector technologists and experts 
  • Connections to peer transportation agencies 
  • Advanced planning tools and software 
  • Technical assistance 
  • Procurement assistance 
  • Project organization and facilitation 
  • Policy analysis 
  • Public awareness and promotion
  • Financial evaluation, planning, & strategy  

Networked Communities

Networked Communities are special places where families can grow, businesses can thrive, and underserved, overburdened, and disadvantaged communities can flourish if provided the opportunity. Many of the communities that were chosen for the Program had previously applied for federal funding but were unsuccessful due to a lack of necessary resources to be competitive. The communities also come into the Program with varying levels of needs that range from advancing stalled feasibility studies to securing funds for the implementation of policy and infrastructure improvements. The Networked Communities are from urban, suburban, and rural communities that are located near significant transportation facilities and include:

  • Montgomery, Alabama
  • Wrangell, Alaska
  • Saint Paul, Alaska
  • Douglas, Arizona
  • San Lois, Arizona
  • Osceola Port Authority, Arkansas
  • Doraville, Georgia
  • Detroit, Michigan
  • Chester Economic Development Authority, Pennsylvania
  • Pottstown, Pennsylvania
  • Charleston Area Transportation Study, South Carolina
  • Brownsville, Texas
  • Kearns Metro Township, Utah
  • Nisqually Indian Tribe, Washington
  • Upper Kanawha Valley Strategic Initiative Council, Washington

“The Ray, from its inception, has leveraged philanthropy through the P4 model – via technical assistance, powerful software and tools, and a stubborn commitment to project execution – to accelerate our mission to achieve net-zero transportation,” said Rogers. She continued, “The Thriving Communities Program is evocative of The Ray’s core model that we’ve fine-tuned over the last eight years, and now we have the privilege to work with USDOT in partnership through TCP to scale our impact even more broadly.”

Bringing Together Experienced Partners and Innovative Technologies

The Ray, Arcadis, InfraStrategies, and Beverly Scott and Associates are a team of world-class experts who are transforming transportation infrastructure by leading the way with some of the world’s boldest thinking, building projects that inspire confidence in new innovations, and showing that the technologies and path to achieve safe, sustainable, and equitable transportation already exist. Using their combined experience, the team will work with the USDOT to help plan, develop, and support the scaling of infrastructure improvement projects across the 15 communities selected as Networked Communities. 

Source: The Ray

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LOS ANGELES  Metrolink’s low-income discount program was relaunched today as the Mobility-4-All program.  Metrolink passengers with a California Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card are still eligible for a 50 percent discount on all Metrolink tickets and passes. Riders can use their EBT card at any Metrolink station ticket machine to validate and unlock the discount.

“Since we began the program in September 2022, we have sold more than 80,000 tickets with the discounted fare,” Metrolink CEO Darren Kettle said. “Thanks to a generous Caltrans grant, we have made Metrolink an even more affordable option for people. Renaming the program to Mobility-4-All reaffirms our commitment to make public transportation more equitable, without reference to socioeconomic status.”

Funding for the discount is made possible by a grant from the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP), administered by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).

A California EBT card is required to validate the discount, while an alternative form of payment is needed to complete the ticket transaction.

Source: Metrolink

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Hollywood Writers Strike Ends: Guild Approves Contract with Studios

Hollywood writers strike ends as guild approves contract with studios, bringing production back after months of halt. Scriptwriting resumes.



After nearly five months of uncertainty and halted production, the Hollywood writers strike has finally come to an end. The governing boards of the Writers Guild of America, representing both the eastern and western branches, along with their joint negotiating committee, have approved a contract agreement with studios. This decision marks a significant milestone for the industry, allowing the resumption of scriptwriting and the gradual return to normalcy.

Key Highlights of the Contract Agreement:
The contract, spanning three years, encompasses several vital victories that writers had fought for since the beginning of the strike. These wins include improved compensation, longer employment terms, increased staff sizes, and control over artificial intelligence. The agreement closely aligns with the initial demands of the writers, reflecting a compromise between both parties.

Compensation and Employment:
The writers’ union sought higher pay and future residual earnings from shows, and the compromise deal resulted in a raise ranging from 3.5% to 5%. Additionally, the contract introduces new residual payments based on the popularity of streaming shows, ensuring writers receive adequate compensation for their contributions to highly watched properties.

Staffing and Artificial Intelligence:
The contract addresses the issue of staffing, with a requirement that shows intended to run at least 13 episodes must have a minimum of six writers on staff. The number of writers will be adjusted based on the episode count. While the initial desire for guaranteed staffs of six on shows yet to be ordered was not achieved, a guaranteed minimum of three writers was agreed upon.

Furthermore, the agreement grants writers control over the regulation and use of artificial intelligence. AI-generated storylines will not be considered “literary material” or “source” material, protecting writers’ creative contributions and avoiding competition with computer-generated content.

The end of the Hollywood writers strike brings relief to the entertainment industry, allowing the resumption of production and the creation of new scripts. The approved contract represents a significant achievement for the Writers Guild of America, securing important gains in compensation, employment terms, staffing, and control over emerging technologies. As late-night talk shows prepare to return, the agreement paves the way for the gradual comeback of scripted shows as negotiations continue. The Hollywood writers strike, while disruptive, ultimately led to a more equitable and sustainable future for the talented individuals who shape the narratives we love on screen.

For more on the writers and actors strikes, visit: https://apnews.com/hub/hollywood-strikes/


Source: Associated Press

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Punctuate Your Day with Humor: National Punctuation Day

“Embrace the power of punctuation on National Punctuation Day and let your words dance with clarity and humor. #NationalPunctuationDay”



Attention, grammar nerds and word enthusiasts! Today, we celebrate the unsung heroes of the written word: punctuation marks! It’s National Punctuation Day, a time to pause, take a breath, and appreciate those tiny symbols that bring order to our sentences.

Imagine a world without punctuation. It would be utter chaos! Sentences would blend together, leaving us scratching our heads and desperately searching for meaning. Take a look at this sentence: “Let’s eat grandma.” Now, add a simple comma, and voila! “Let’s eat, grandma.” Crisis averted!

Punctuation marks have the power to change everything. They can turn a statement into a question, add excitement or urgency, and even make us sound sarcastic. Just one exclamation point can transform a dull sentence into an enthusiastic proclamation! “I’m going to the store” becomes “I’m going to the store!”

Let’s not forget the semicolon, the mysterious and underappreciated member of the punctuation family. It’s like the James Bond of punctuation marks—sophisticated, elegant, and capable of connecting two independent clauses with effortless grace.

So, on this National Punctuation Day, let’s raise our pens and give thanks to these unsung heroes. They may be small, but they wield a mighty influence over our words. So, use them wisely, cherish them dearly, and remember: without punctuation, we’d all be lost in a sea of confusion. Happy National Punctuation Day!

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