Brian Farber was appointed by the Obama Administration in April 2010 to serve as associate administrator for Communications and Congressional Affairs at the Federal Transit Administration. Farber is leading his team through an extraordinary period of transformative growth and revitalization for public transportation in the United States.
He continues to spearhead the FTA's response to media and Congressional inquiries in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the single greatest disaster ever to befall the nation’s transit system. Farber led the rollout of the FTA's nearly $6 billion in response, recovery and initial resiliency funding allocations appropriated by the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, which President Obama signed into law on January 29, 2013. And, Farber continues to be involved in the development of a discretionary program using the remaining $5 billion in emergency funding to make the most impacted transit agencies more resilient in the face of future storms or major disasters.
Farber is leading the public rollout and education of the provisions of the new transportation law, “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” (MAP-21). MAP-21 brings with it historic new safety oversight authority for the FTA; the FTA was formerly prohibited from implementing and enforcing even the most basic minimum safety standards since 1964. He helped lead the legislative effort to create that new authority in MAP-21.
Farber and his team led the development of the Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative, a two-time, $65 million discretionary program that used existing funding to develop one-call/one-click centers nationwide to aid veterans, military personnel and their families in finding rides to work, school, medical appointments or wherever they need to go by transit. Military families sometimes struggle during transfers from base to base domestically, or when a spouse is forward deployed, but finding a ride to maintain a job and earn a paycheck shouldn't be one of those burdens.
Public transit isn’t just about getting people where they need to go; it is far more than that. Robust investments in public transit create jobs and economic development. Farber has consistently put transit manufacturers and suppliers at the forefront of many of the visits made by senior administration and department officials, including former-Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff. And, Farber has led the outreach effort to broadcast the FTA's success in protecting American jobs by enforcing and strengthening Buy America federal requirements.
Farber continues to advance new ways to establish transit's relevance outside the Washington Beltway. Under his leadership, Farber’s team led the redesign of what was considered by many an antiquated and ineffective website to make it more accessible not just to transit grantees, but to the FTA's core customer: the riding public. Farber has implemented a vigorous social media effort, including increasing Twitter followers from 1,000 followers at the time of his arrival to approximately 15,000 today. He led the creation of an FTA Facebook page that boasts nearly 700 fans less than a year after launch.
The Office of Communications and Congressional Affairs is also the home for FTA's public engagement program, correspondence and briefing team. Farber has coordinated dozens of White House roundtable meetings and other public engagement events to hear first-hand from community residents and local leaders what issues are most important to them — not just transit related — and has relayed those issues back to relevant departments for response. And, Farber’s office has coordinated the response to more than 2,000 pieces of correspondence in 2012 alone.
"There is nothing more enjoyable than waking up each day knowing that the work you do makes a real difference to millions of people in hundreds of communities across the nation. We are capturing the local vision of a city or community and helping to make that a reality; it doesn't get better than that.”