March 23, 2018
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Transit Coalition: Partners in Surface Transportation Advocacy

APTA’s coalition partners in surface transportation advocacy discussed the need to work for additional investment in an infrastructure bill and any successor legislation to the FAST Act, during a March 19 session at the APTA 2018 Legislative Conference.

Leanne P. Redden, member, APTA Executive Committee; vice chair, Legislative Committee; and executive director, RTA (Chicago), presided. She suggested all partners ensure the case they make for investment in public transportation “resonates on both sides of the aisle to get our messages heard.” She noted that while the panelists have different perspectives and ideas, all agree that Congress needs to increase investment in transportation and find a way to fix the Highway Trust Fund. “Our message is much stronger when we all talk together,” she said.

Ed Mortimer, executive director, Americans for Transportation Mobility Coalition; and executive director, transportation infrastructure, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the “American business community is 100 percent behind public transportation. The bottom line is that we are going to make sure that any legislation Congress deals with, public transportation has a very serious seat at that table.”

Jim Tymon, chief operating officer/director of policy and management, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, said state DOTs are “here to support the public transportation industry. We need investment in all modes, not just highways.”

Sean O’Neill, vice president, congressional relations and infrastructure advancement, Associated General Contractors of America, expressed disappointment that there is no long-term fix for the Highway Trust Fund: “we need the predictability so state DOTs and transit agencies can plan for long-term projects that go on for multiple years.” He, too, stressed the need for strong advocacy efforts by all, and noted that the administration’s proposal still calls for investing additional funds in infrastructure.

Kevin McCarty, assistant executive director, U.S. Conference of Mayors, appealed to specialized agencies to not overlook the importance of relationships with elected officials and urged participants to keep these relationships current. He explained how public transportation is a high priority for his organization and noted that, based on research conducted by the conference, Americans desire more public transportation.

Dean Franks, senior vice president, congressional relations, American Road & Transportation Builders Association, encouraged attendees to participate in meetings with elected officials on Capitol Hill and to “continue the drumbeat when you are back home.”

From left: Leanne P. Redden, moderator, and panelists Ed Mortimer, Jim Tymon, Sean O’Neill, Kevin McCarty and Dean Franks.

 

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