March 2, 2009
Oberstar, Mica, Blumenauer Headline APTA Legislative Conference; LaHood to Speak Monday Afternoon
“The essential ingredient of politics is timing,” declared former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. This is certainly the case for APTA’s 34th Annual Legislative Conference, to be held at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Washington.
With the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act authorizing billions for public transit and high speed rail, with SAFETEA-LU expiring Sept. 30, and with a new authorization on the horizon, the timing could not be better.
Members attending this conference will hear from such featured speakers as the chair and ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee: the committee chair, Rep. James L. Oberstar (D-MN), will address the Opening General Session on Monday morning, March 9, and the ranking member, Rep. John Mica (R-FL), will join longtime public transit supporter Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) on Tuesday, March 10. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood will address the conference at 1:45 p.m. March 9.
Prior to the opening of the conference, a March 7 breakfast session will provide all APTA members with an opportunity to help develop the association’s next multi-year strategic plan. The weekend’s activities also will include numerous committee meetings; the March 8 “Welcome to Washington” session featuring Norman Ornstein, a commentator and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute; and the Welcoming Reception that evening at the majestic National Building Museum, featuring the Green Community exhibit sponsored by APTA.
Patrick McCrory, mayor of Charlotte, NC, will address a sit-down breakfast briefing on Monday morning, March 9; APTA’s business members are sponsoring this event—“The ‘Insider’ Perspective for the Transit Industry.”
Oberstar joins APTA Chair Beverly A. Scott, Ph.D., and APTA President William W. Millar for welcoming remarks at the Opening General Session on the theme “What’s Ahead for Transit—New Opportunities in 2009.”
Directly following that assembly, members will hear representatives of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, Transportation for America, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the Community Transportation Association of America, and the Amalgamated Transit Union discuss “Expanding the Transit Coalition: Partners in the Authorization Debate.” For a lighter look at legislation and politics, the Capitol Steps will again bring their brand of musical political satire to the Monday luncheon.
The rest of the May 9 schedule will include sessions with representatives of U.S. DOT and key Congressional staff, followed by three concurrent sessions focusing on effective legislative advocacy; climate change, sustainability, energy policy, and public transportation; and commuter and high-speed intercity passenger rail issues.
Tuesday morning, March 10, beginning with a full breakfast, will focus on presentations by members of Congress including Mica and Blumenauer,. The rest of the day is available for conference participants to visit Capitol Hill.
At 5:30 p.m. that day, APTA and ATU will jointly sponsor a reception for lawmakers and their staff members in the cafeteria of the Rayburn House Office Building.