Passenger Transport - March 23, 2012
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BREAKING NEWS

Mica Introduces Three-Month Surface Transportation Extension in House

Rep. John Mica (R-FL), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, introduced a three-month extension of surface transportation authorization in the House on March 22.  The House is expected to take up the legislation the week of March 26.

The Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012, H.R. 4239, is a “clean” extension of Highway Trust Fund expenditure authority, taxes, and funding authorizations through June 30, 2012. It will be the ninth extension of authorization since SAFETEA-LU expired Sept. 30, 2009.  The legislation provides for distribution of funds at the same rate as under the existing Fiscal Year 2012 DOT Appropriations Act and the current short-term extension (Public Law 112-30), which expires March 31.

The text of the bill is available by clicking here.

More information will appear in a brief APTA Legislative Alert.

NEWS HEADLINES

U.S. Public Transit Ridership Climbs: 10.4 Billion Trips in 2011

U.S. public transportation ridership in 2011 totaled 10.4 billion trips, 2.3 percent more than the 2010 total and the second highest annual ridership since 1957. This represents 235 million more trips than were taken in 2010. Only ridership in 2008, when gas prices rose above $4 a gallon, surpassed last year’s ridership.

This was the sixth year in a row that more than 10 billion trips were taken on public transportation systems nationwide.

APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy announced the ridership figures at the Opening General Session of the APTA Legislative Conference in Washington, DC.

“What is exciting,” he said, “is that the uptick in ridership occurred in large, medium, and small communities, showing the broad support that public transportation has nationwide. In fact, the largest rate of growth was in rural communities with populations under 100,000, where public transit use increased by 5.4 percent.”

He said: “Two top reasons for the increased ridership are higher gas prices and, in certain areas, a recovering economy with more people returning to work. Since nearly 60 percent of trips taken on public transportation are for work commutes, it’s not surprising to see ridership increase in areas where the economy has improved.”

He tied this success to the recovering economy and said: “We take people to work and we put people to work.”

Noting the increased use of passenger information technology as another contributing factor to higher ridership, Melaniphy said: “The exponential growth of apps to track bus and rail arrival times is demystifying the ridership experience and attracting new customers to public transportation. More and more people are now able to find out when the next bus and train will arrive through public transit apps. This is making public transportation more attractive.”

APTA Members Release Numbers
The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) in Columbus led the nation’s large bus agencies with a ridership increase of almost 10.2 percent in 2011 compared with the previous year. The agency posted strong ridership growth in each quarter of the year.

“We are encouraged that, as commuters try COTA to minimize the impact of higher fuel prices on their budgets, they respond favorably to our service and many become long-term users of transit,” said COTA President/CEO W. Curtis Stitt.

In Kansas City, MO, the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) provided 15.6 million more rides in 2011 than 2010, a 5.7 percent increase. “People in Kansas City are realizing that riding The Metro is a convenient way to get to work and school, along with other destinations,” said Mark Huffer, KCATA general manager.

The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority in Tampa, FL, noted that it has seen its ridership rise each month for the past two years. During 2011, the increases varied from a low of 3 percent in July to a high of 19 percent in February; in addition, March 2011 reported the highest monthly bus ridership in the agency’s history, 1.2 million trips.

Print, broadcast, and online media nationwide picked up the story of record high public transportation ridership, including The New York Times; The Washington Post; USA Today; Los Angeles Times; Time Magazine; Reuters; CNN- TV (with ticker tape throughout the day); CNN.com –Money; Cox TV; National Public Radio, both morning news and Marketplace; and The Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch.

To see the complete ridership report, click here.

APTA Chair Thomas Addresses EESI
On March 13, APTA Chair Gary C. Thomas addressed a session hosted by the Environmental and Energy Study Institute in Washington, DC, saying that “public transportation, where available, is the best way for people to beat the escalating price of gasoline.”

Public transit provides a variety of benefits, Thomas said: an alternative to high fuel prices; a way to help reduce U.S. dependence on oil; and a boost to the nation’s manufacturing economy through construction of buses, railcars, and infrastructure.

 

Photo by Todd Parola

APTA Chair Gary C. Thomas makes a presentation on the economic benefits of public transportation at a program hosted by EESI.

 

LaHood Gets Standing Ovation for Support: ‘If You Pass a Transportation Bill, You Pass a Jobs Bill’

BY SUSAN BERLIN, Senior Editor

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood brought more than 700 people to their feet at the Opening General Session of the APTA Legislative Conference in Washington in recognition of his stalwart support of federal funding for public transportation.

“Just about everything we do in transportation—especially public transit—creates jobs,” the secretary said. “If you pass a transportation bill, you pass a jobs bill.” He noted that the $48 billion for transportation infrastructure in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, including $8 billion for public transit, created 65,000 jobs in 15,000 projects.

APTA Chair Gary C. Thomas opened the session by acknowledging the success of public transportation professionals fighting back against negative proposals in the House. “We had a curveball thrown us, the proposal to take public transit out of the Highway Trust Fund,” he said, “but we knew what we wanted. Our stakeholders and customers also helped tell our story for us …. It’s critical that we continue to push hard on this issue.”

LaHood thanked APTA members for their role in stopping a House Ways and Means Committee proposal that would have eliminated the Mass Transit Account of the Highway Trust Fund. This account provides dedicated federal funding for public transportation projects.

LaHood said he wants a bipartisan bill that “reflects the transportation values of America … I want people to reach consensus by talking to each other.” He noted that the leaders of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works—Barbara Boxer (D-CA), chair, and James M. Inhofe (R-OK), ranking member—together crafted a transportation authorization bill he likes.

He called on conference participants to tell their legislators and staffers about the many critical roles public transit plays in a community: “Tell them to reflect the values you do. Public transit helps working people, the average citizen, and provides connections for communities.” LaHood added: “Persuade Congress to get on the bus, light rail, or streetcar—with its constituents.”

From another angle, the availability of public transportation is particularly important when fuel prices increase, he said: “When gas prices go up, ridership also rises, and once people make the choice to get on a bus or light rail, they almost always stay with it.”

LaHood also emphasized the Obama administration’s continued support for public transportation funding. “President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget includes an increase of more than 105 percent in public transportation funding [$10.8 billion] over five years,” he stated. “We all need to take the lead from the president: promote public transit and accommodate the transportation needs of U.S. residents.”

In his remarks at the Opening General Session, APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy announced that U.S. public transit ridership grew 2.3 percent in 2011 to 10.4 billion rides. [See related story.]

Regarding APTA members’ contact with Capitol Hill, Melaniphy said: “We have been faced with nothing short of a funding apocalypse—the greatest attack on our funding in 30 years—and we did not blink…. You’ve won the Mass Transit Account debate; now build on your success.”

House, Senate Budget Chairs Release FY 2013 Budget Outlines

This week, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) released his Committee’s Budget Resolution for Fiscal Year 2013, setting broad guidelines for spending and revenues, including policy guidance aimed at shaping the spending and tax provisions of the budget.

The Budget Resolution is a required part of the congressional budget process set forth in the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974. Although it does not have the force of law, the resolution is a central part of the budget process in Congress as it represents an agreement between the House and Senate that establishes budget priorities, and defines the parameters for all subsequent budgetary actions. The spending, revenue, and public debt legislation necessary to implement decisions agreed to in the budget resolution are subsequently enacted separately.

Ryan’s budget includes projections of deep cuts to budget authority for transportation programs in FY 2013 and beyond. It also envisions specific cuts to current and planned high-speed and intercity rail projects, but policy of that nature must be legislated by the authorization and appropriations committees.

However, in a departure from last year’s budget resolution, the Ryan budget includes provisions allowing for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to work with the House Ways and Means Committee and other committees to find additional revenues or offsets to pay for the pending surface transportation authorization bill.

The Ryan budget also proposes to reprioritize the spending cuts planned to take place under the sequestration process set forth under the Budget Control Act of 2011 passed to implement last year’s debt limit and deficit control agreement.

In the Senate, Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) was taking a substantially different approach from the House Budget Committee, arguing that spending levels for FY 2013 had already been set through the Budget Control Act as part of last year’s debt agreement. Conrad announced March 20 that he had filed a “deeming” resolution (as statutorily required under the act) adhering to the levels established in last year’s agreement, which will enable the Appropriations Committee to move forward in writing the 12 FY 2013 appropriations bills that fund the federal government.

“The fact is the budget for the next fiscal year is already in place,” Conrad stated. “The Budget Control Act provided the key components of the budget for 2012 and 2013, including setting discretionary spending limits and providing the tools to enforce those limits. It is the law of the land. And today I filed a budget deeming resolution in the Senate that formally sets spending to match the levels agreed to in that law.”

Conrad’s statement also indicated that the deeming resolution sets budget enforcement levels for the five-year window through 2017, and the 10-year window through 2022.

DOT Report: Raise Investment Levels

Current levels of transportation funding are far below where they should be if the nation is to maintain its public transportation systems and highways, according to a new DOT report titled 2010 Status of the Nation's Highways, Bridges, and Transit: Conditions and Performance.

This report projects a necessary annual investment of between $20.8 billion and $24.5 billion from all levels of government—local, state, and federal—over the next 20 years to attain a state of good repair for the nation’s public transportation systems and to accommodate expected public transit ridership growth. In contrast, all levels of government combined spent only $16.1 billion on public transit capital improvements in 2008.

The administration’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget request includes $108 billion over six years for public transit options, a 105 percent increase over previous authorization levels.

“Today, more and more Americans are looking for greater choices in transportation," said Peter M. Rogoff, administrator of the Federal Transit Administration. “With gas prices on the rise, we need to heed President Obama’s call to invest in America's infrastructure, in order to ensure that transit remains a reliable and desirable choice.”

Conditions and Performance is a biennial report to Congress that provides information on the physical and operating characteristics of the public transit, highway, and bridge components of the U.S. surface transportation system. The text of the report is available here.

APTA Members Meet with White House Officials


Photo by Todd Parola

Public transportation industry leaders met with White House officials March 13. They discussed authorization, ridership growth, and how public transportation helps people deal with the high cost of gas.

Clockwise from left: APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy; APTA Chair Gary C. Thomas; APTA Vice Chair Flora Castillo; APTA Chief Counsel and Vice President-Corporate Affairs James LaRusch; APTA Secretary-Treasurer Nathaniel P. Ford Sr.; Tom Nolan, San Francisco Muni; Beth Osborne, DOT assistant secretary for transportation policy; Dana Hyde, associate director, White House Office of Management and Budget; Kyle Lehrman, White House Office of Public Engagement; Jon Carson, deputy assistant to the president and director of public engagement; Carlos Monje Jr., senior policy advisor for the Domestic Policy Council; FTA Deputy Administrator Therese McMillan; FTA Administrator Peter M. Rogoff; APTA Executive Committee member Sharon McBride, Greater Peoria Mass Transit District Board of Trustees; and Mike Schneider,  InfraConsult.

Others at the meeting but not shown were APTA Immediate Past Chair Michael J. Scanlon, San Mateo County Transit District; Joseph J. Giulietti, South Florida Regional Transportation Authority; Greg Evans, Lane Transit District Board of Directors; Jeff Nelson, Rock Island County Metropolitan Mass Transit District; Crystal Lyons, Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority Board of Directors; Charles R. Wochele, ALSTOM Transportation; Sharon Greene, Sharon Greene & Associates; Ronald L. Epstein, New York State DOT; Alan C. Wulkan, InfraConsult; and David Garten, New York MTA. 

LaHood Proposes Streamlined NEPA Process

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Peter M. Rogoff, administrator of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), have announced proposed changes that “would significantly cut red tape for certain public transportation projects under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and dramatically speed some  of them toward completion.”

“The president has asked us to find new ways to make our government work smarter on behalf of the American people by cutting waste and inefficiency wherever we find it,” said LaHood. “The changes we’re proposing will allow us to still carefully assess the impact of transit development on the environment while reducing the time and energy needed to green-light good projects that clearly do not have a significant impact on the environment.”

FTA anticipates that the streamlined NEPA review process would be five times faster than the current procedure for certain public transit projects—the most efficient it has been in 20 years. The time savings would be due, in part, to allowing certain types of projects that clearly have no significant impact on the local environment—such as those  to be built within an existing right-of-way where public transit or other transportation already exists—to potentially undergo a less intensive NEPA evaluation while still providing for a more thorough review of projects that do have the potential for significant environmental impacts.

Qualified projects would require less documentation than they do now,  and project sponsors and state and regional transportation authorities would be encouraged to take environmental impacts into consideration sooner, as part of the planning process.

The proposed changes also would boost transparency of the NEPA process by encouraging the posting of all environmental impact statements and  records of decision on a grant applicant’s project website, then maintaining that information until a project is constructed and operating.

A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on “Environmental Impact and Related Procedures” appeared in the March 15, 2012, Federal Register. A 60-day public comment period follows.

This is the second effort to cut red tape undertaken by FTA this year. In January, reflecting an April 2011 Executive Order–Streamlining Service Delivery and Improving Customer Service, the agency announced a proposed rulemaking to streamline the way major public transit projects compete for federal funds.

Santa Clara VTA Receives FFGA for BART Extension

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) in San Jose, CA, recently received the largest grant in its history: a $900 million funding commitment from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) through the New Starts Funding Program for the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) Silicon Valley Berryessa Extension Project.

FTA Deputy Administrator Therese McMillan presented the $900 million Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) to VTA General Manager Michael Burns for signature.

More than 300 people attended the signing ceremony.

“President Obama understands that, even in austere times, building transportation for our nation is not a luxury but a necessity,” said McMillan. “Together, in the partnership that we are demonstrating today, we can put people back to work making an America built to last with a transportation system that is the envy of the world, and the BART Silicon Valley Project will be a part of that system.”

“For years, many doubted we could bring BART to the Silicon Valley,” Burns said. “They said it was too hard. They said it was too expensive. They said it would never happen. But we’re well on our way to delivering the impossible.”

The signed FFGA represents the last and final step in sealing the funding “deal.” After the signatures and handshakes, VTA also received its first $100 million allocation from the New Starts Funding Program.

This unprecedented public works project will break ground on April 12. Once completed, the 10-mile, two-station BART extension will help relieve congested freeway corridors and prepare Santa Clara County for future job and population growth expected in the next 25 years.

 

Participants in the signing event include, from left: seated, FTA Deputy Administrator Therese McMillan and VTA General Manager Michael Burns; standing, Carl Guardino, Silicon Valley Leadership Group president and CEO; San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed; Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Mike Honda (D-CA); and Santa Clara County Supervisor/VTA Board Chair Ken Yeager.

 

DePallo Testifies Before House DHS Appropriations

Michael DePallo, chair, APTA Security Affairs Steering Committee, and director and general manager, Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation, testified recently before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security during a hearing on public transportation security investments for Fiscal Year 2013.

DePallo’s testimony addressed security threats facing public transportation agencies, including a historical assessment of plots that have been averted. He stressed the need to restore appropriations for the Transit Security Grant Program, noting concerns about a reduction in the grant period for allowable expenditures, as well as elimination of the grant program from the National Preparedness Grant Program.
 He also raised the question of whether a risk-based funding approach would prevent important security improvements that could be precluded from receiving funding consideration and called for continuing to allow direct administration of grants to public transit agencies rather than to their State Administrative Agencies.

DesignLine Corporation Announces New Leader

DesignLine Corporation, headquartered in Charlotte, NC, has announced the appointment of Joseph J. Smith as interim chief executive officer, effective immediately.

Smith currently serves as a consultant to Cyan Partners LP, the sole arranger of DesignLine’s November 2011 debt and equity capital raises. In his capacity as a consultant to Cyan, Mr. Smith also serves on the company’s board of directors.

Prior to his retirement in December 2010, Smith worked in several positions for the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, including president, MTA Bus Company; president, MTA Long Island Bus; and senior vice president, Department of Buses, MTA New York City Transit.

COMMENTARY

Focus on Member Value, Agility, and Thought Leadership

BY MICHAEL P. MELANIPHY, APTA President & CEO

Dear APTA Members:

I would like to take this opportunity--now that I have been “on the job” for just over four months--to give you an update on what the APTA team and I have been focusing on and where we are headed. Working closely with APTA Chair Gary C. Thomas, we have achieved much in this short period. And may I say under very challenging circumstances! We faced our biggest battle in 30 years—the fight for a robust multimodal authorization bill.

But with your help and that of our many partners, we are working daily to secure a bill soon. I want to thank all of you who took your case to Capitol Hill during our very successful Legislative Conference—and over the past few months. We let our legislators know—loudly and clearly—that our nation depends on public transportation.

Also, here at the APTA offices we have been working on our three areas of focus: Value. Thought leadership. Agility. These are all geared to making APTA the best organization it can be and helping you to take full advantage of all the benefits.

Much of our work has been dedicated to “demystifying APTA.” What do I mean by this? It’s simple.

We are embracing the concepts of inclusion and involvement with the goal of enhancing your membership in APTA. We’re encouraging you to become even more active in APTA committees, and we’re asking for your feedback. We’ve created a new member resource page which provides a quick and easy reference. Please use it!

In terms of value, I’m sure you have already seen several new features in Passenger Transport. These include columns highlighting APTA members and APTA staff. Another new item is a column that focuses on member benefits, which has spotlighted the online buyers guide and forums where you can talk to other members, ask questions, and share best practices. Also, we are continuing to reach out through the new Twitter and Facebook pages we have created.

At the Bus & Paratransit Conference in May in Long Beach, CA, you will be seeing a new format to the new member “This is APTA” presentation. You will also have the opportunity to meet in smaller groups to have peer-to-peer conversations. Let us know what you think!  Another new initiative: we launched an annual state of the industry address in January which focused on what the industry has accomplished to date and where we are going in the future.

We are also creating a series of white papers to help you make the case for investment in public transportation with your elected officials. The first two, one on small urban and rural communities and the other on economic benefits, were released at the Legislative Conference.

Over the course of the last few months, we have been asked to be at the table on conversations of national importance. In January, we were invited to the White House to discuss how we, as an industry, are taking leadership roles and improving service through technical applications. The role of new technology, and in particular smart phone applications, is another area in which we are becoming more active and adept.

And, we were thrilled when were invited back to the White House during the Legislative Conference to discuss the benefits of public transportation.

APTA is also focused on ways that we can assist veterans so that they have the mobility and access to the resources they need, as well as exploring opportunities to welcome them into the public transportation workforce. Many of their skills are a perfect match for our needs in the public and private sector.

We continue to work hard to ensure APTA is a more agile association. We’ve retooled our website to make it an even more valuable tool with the latest industry news at your fingertips. This means one touch access to the information you need immediately, as well as more targeted emails on specific updates you need—when you need it! These include frequent updates on our homepage. And, up-to-the-minute Legislative Alerts and updates—even on the weekends—all to keep you informed and connected.

All along, I continue to search for every opportunity I can to meet with you, to listen to your concerns and suggestions—all aimed at bringing your suggestions back home to make APTA a stronger and more transparent association. Your association.

We had a very successful Business Members Board of Governors Annual Business Meeting and Transit CEOs Seminar where we used a more interactive approach. In addition, at the latter conference, and as part of our ongoing workforce development initiatives, we added a new breakfast session dedicated to Deputy CEOs. So as you can see, we’re trying some different things, adding new twists here or there—all in an effort to make sessions more beneficial to you.

Because the more resources and the more information we can provide will help you in your day-to-day jobs. Jobs that helped spur ridership on public transit in record numbers in 2011. More than 235 million more trips were taken on our vehicles. What does this say to our legislators? That investment in public transportation is essential to the independence, mobility, and economic dependence of our nation.

We still have much work ahead of us—so in closing I want to thank each of you for your support, your enthusiasm, your feedback, and your commitment. Success takes great teamwork and I sincerely look forward to working with you in the months and years ahead to take APTA to new heights.
 
Thank you.

APTA MEMBER PROFILE

Meet Christin Wegener!

Christin Wegener
Chief, Fairfax Connector Section
Fairfax County DOT
Leadership APTA Class of 2011

How many people do you employ at your agency?
Fairfax County DOT has approximately 160 employees. Our contractor MV Transportation, that operates our bus service, Fairfax Connector, has approximately 500 employees.

How long have you worked in the industry? 9 years.

How long have you been an APTA member? 9 years.

What drew you to a career in public transportation?
I stumbled into my career. I’m a California native and I was pursuing a master’s degree in public policy and administration when my thesis adviser said I needed an internship to satisfy the requirements of my program. He said: “There’s an opening in the Sacramento Transit District. Dr. Beverly Scott needs an intern to do some research.” And that’s how I started!

What have you found to be the most valuable APTA benefit or resource—that helps you do your job?
The most beneficial one recently was my experience in Leadership APTA. First and foremost, I made some connections in the industry that have been so invaluable for me to do my job here. For instance, through Leadership APTA I became friends with John Catoe, who is an adviser to our contractor. It’s making those connections. In this case, through talking with John, I was able to communicate better with our contractor, which in turn improved our relationship.

It’s also been extremely beneficial to use the research and industry “best practices.” My county is aggressively pursuing ITS [Intelligent Transportation Systems] to be installed on our fleet of buses that will travel on the new Metro Silver Line extension. A piece of that is bringing our system up to the 21st century, technology-wise. We’ve used some of the research APTA has done on industry trends and best practices to see where the industry is going in terms of technology. We don’t want to reinvent the wheel—we want to learn from other’s challenges. So APTA has been very helpful.

Please explain why or how this has helped.
Because APTA is a one-stop shop for us for federal legislation, it makes more efficient use of my staff time. Being in the Washington, DC, area, a lot of riders are federal workers or contractors, so we need to know what will happen to ridership because of federal legislation. We use APTA to gauge where the industry is going and what the temperature of FTA is.

At the EXPO in New Orleans last October, we sent several people to talk to the vendors and manufacturers of ITS equipment (including automatic passenger counters, stop annunciators, and most specifically, GPS). We made some great connections—we’ve had several visits from vendors over the last few months during which they showcased and demonstrated their products.

This will be a very large procurement and, through APTA, we established connections—so we’re developing an open dialogue with some of the major manufacturers. This will only help us better procure technology for our system, which in turn will provide a better end product for our riders.

We also talked to bus manufacturers because we are looking at hybrid technology. We definitely liked EXPO this year—it was a perfect year for us!

What do you like most about your job?
I get to help people. At the end of the day, the decisions I make and the service I help support has a social, environmental, and economic impact on communities. It’s tremendously rewarding to see the fruits of your labors on the street—when you plan bus service and see the people get out of their cars and onto my buses.

What is unique about your agency/business?
We’re really growing. I think we’re one of the few systems in this economic time that’s growing. We have extensive plans to expand bus service (on the Interstate 495 express lanes as well as the Dulles Rail Silver Line extension) and that will be part of the reconfiguration of our entire network. At 26 years old, we are one of the largest privately contracted fixed route systems in the country.

Make sure you see Christin Wegener’s video, now that you've read this!

MEET THE APTA STAFF

Meet Saahir Brewington!

Saahir Brewington
Program Manager-Bus Standards
Member Services/Technical Services Department

What are the top job elements you focus on the most (your primary responsibilities)?
My primary responsibility is program manager for the standards programs. That means I am responsible for working in the areas of suspension systems, bus safety and operations, fire safety, and security and emergency management. I assist with document development and production, facilitate meetings and, in general, work with business members and public transportation agency professionals to create APTA standards.

My job is 30-40 percent travel—so I travel about twice a month to facilitate working groups. We hold meetings at various agencies, both to showcase them and to take into account costs. It’s much less for me to go to them than for them to come here!

I am also the program manager for both the bus and rail rodeos—APTA’s exhibition of front line employees. A successful rodeo is a lot of hard work on the part of the host agency as well as the rodeo committee. [Editor’s note: While the bus event is a “roadeo” and rail is a “rodeo,” we are using just one spelling—rodeo—in this profile.]

Do you have direct contact with APTA members? If so, please talk about the two most recent times you’ve helped out a member.
I communicate with members all the time—that is the best part of my job! Most of my interaction is within the APTA Standards Development Program Working Group. The goal of each working group is to create standards or recommended practices to improve the state of public transportation and ensure that the rules, regulations, and changes are practical and that the public transit industry can comply. What I do with those groups is help them come to a happy medium—getting people who have distinctly different approaches but understand that, to move the public transit industry forward, they must come to an agreement. And that’s always an exciting adventure!

One of the things I really like about my job is that I get to interact with APTA members on a broad scale—from business members to CEOs and vice presidents to public transit agency general managers—as well as APTA chairs. I have learned so much from my interactions with business members. I thoroughly enjoy attending their product showcases and watching how they contribute to the industry. On the other side, given that I see the front line employees year in and year out, it’s particularly gratifying to see someone who started as an operator return as a supervisor or become active in the rodeo committee.

What initiatives, projects, or programs have you worked on at APTA that you have taken particular pride in completing?
My favorites are always the bus and rail rodeos. Both events are designed to elevate and acknowledge front line employees—and the awards banquets are highlights of my year because we are honoring these employees. This is their chance to shine, and I really like that APTA, as an industry leader, takes the time to recognize these employees. And I’m very happy that I’m the person who gets to organize all this!

How long have you worked here? 9 years.

How did you “land” at APTA?
I came to APTA through a temporary agency. I had recently graduated college (so this is my first long-term job). Because I have always liked public transit, I applied for the job. I started as an administrative assistant and was promoted to program manager. I am now responsible for five standards development working groups, three APTA committees, and the bus and rail rodeos. I thoroughly enjoy my job.

Could you tell us something about yourself that might surprise us?
I volunteer at CulinAerie—an adult recreational cooking school. I also volunteer with National CARES Mentoring Movement. Their mission is to fill mentoring voids. This organization finds mentors for specific programs, such as College Bound. And another completely different thing … My mother was an artist, so for many years my brother and I were part of her performing arts group—her backup singers and dancers! Last, and different again … I am president of my condo association.

Make sure you see Saahir Brewington's video, now that you've read this!

APTA NEWS

Bus Conference to Feature Networking, Keynote Speaker

APTA invites its business members attending the APTA Bus & Paratransit Conference in Long Beach, CA, to participate in a networking breakfast Monday, May 7.

“These highly successful breakfasts bring together business members to talk about business opportunities that they might work on together,” said Huelon Harrison, chair of the Business Member Small Business Committee. “The breakfasts, held at both the bus and rail conferences, have produced a number of successful new partnerships—partnerships which would not have been established if it were not for the contacts that get made at these networking events.”

Business members who register for the event by April 16 will be listed in a brochure, which will be sent out in advance of the meeting. Harrison explained: “To let folks know who will be at the breakfast and to help them make their networking plans before the conference, we created a brochure last year. Members found the information about the type of work that each company does to be very helpful.”

Public agency procurement officials are also invited to come to the breakfast and bring lists of their upcoming procurement opportunities.

A similar event will be held Monday, June 4, in Dallas as part of the APTA Rail Conference.

Information on the bus business networking breakfast and the registration form is available on the APTA website.

Patterson to Keynote Session
Also, John Patterson, author of Wired and Dangerous: How Your Customers Have Changed and What to Do About It, will keynote a general session at the APTA Bus & Paratransit Conference.

Patterson’s presentation will focus on the ways in which today’s customers are not what they were. Customers today are picky, demanding value; fickle, quicker to leave if their needs are not met; vocal, assertively telling all; and expect personalized service. They can choose among an enormous variety of services and products with unprecedented access to information and reviews, thanks to the reach of the Internet.

How can public transportation providers remain on the good side of these empowered customers? They must rethink their strategies and tactics to ones that will change today’s “customer as king” into tomorrow’s “customer as partner.” This requires reinventing experiences that create customer ease and delight, resulting in loyalty or “stickiness.”

More information about the conference, including registration details, is available here.

Two Washington State Agencies Achieve Gold

BY KYLE BELL, APTA Program Manager-Environment and Infrastructure

Two Washington State public transportation agencies—Intercity Transit in Olympia and Sound Transit in Seattle—recently became the first U.S. agencies to achieve Gold-level recognition for their efforts in support of the APTA Sustainability Commitment, of which both were founding signatories in 2009. They are the second and third APTA members to achieve this status, following TransLink of Vancouver, BC.

The APTA Sustainability Commitment is a voluntary agreement to place a priority on preserving the environment, being socially responsible, and maintaining economic viability, with an overall contribution to quality of life. APTA members who sign on commit to implementing core internal processes and actions that set the basis for continuous improvement on these key sustainability elements.

Signatories can obtain increasingly higher levels of recognition—Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum—by attaining reduction targets for a series of set indicators, performing additional actions, and putting long-term processes into place.

Intercity Transit
Intercity Transit’s efforts to integrate sustainability into its culture include forming a Sustainability Committee, creating a program to reduce auto-based commuting by staff, expanding recycling efforts, saving fuel by reducing engine idling, and replacing buses with cleaner-burning hybrid diesel-electric units. The agency powers its fleet entirely with a biodiesel (B20) fuel blend.

As a result, Intercity has seen a 4.8 percent reduction in total waste, a 5.5 percent decline in total water usage, and an 8 percent drop in energy usage per trip—all while increasing the number of unlinked passenger trips by 31.9 percent from 2006 to 2010.

Mike Harbour, general manager, explained: “Intercity Transit’s sustainability efforts reach across the entire agency and have involved every employee and board member. Sustainability, energy usage, and the impact of a project on the environment are now key elements of every decision made by our agency and are key considerations in the development of our annual budget.”

Sound Transit
Sound Transit built on its previous Silver-level APTA Sustainability Commitment status, developing a long-term sustainability plan; adding hybrid buses to its fleet in 2010 and 2011; and incorporating sustainability criteria into its design guidelines and new contracts. From 2009 to 2010, per passenger trip the agency reduced criteria air pollutant emissions by approximately 15 percent, greenhouse gas emissions by more than 20 percent, and water usage by 62 percent. During this time, Sound Transit achieved a significant 10.7 percent reduction in energy use per trip while the total number of passenger trips expanded by 19 percent.

“Sustainability is a major priority in everything we do,” said Sound Transit Chief Executive Officer Joni Earl. “It extends to more than offering fast and convenient services that take cars off the road. This recognition by APTA reflects other efforts that span everything from reducing emissions from our vehicles to incorporating sustainability into our project blueprints to using less paper around the office.”

All APTA members, from both the public and private sectors, are eligible to sign the APTA Sustainability Commitment. For more information, contact Kyle Bell, program manager-environment and infrastructure.

APTF Recognizes Premo

The American Public Transportation Foundation (APTF) announced the Jerome C. Premo AECOM Scholarship—the third of five named scholarships being created under the APTF’s “Take Us There” Campaign—during the Opening General Session of the APTA Legislative Conference. Premo is global transit director/executive vice president, AECOM.

“We at AECOM are honored to recognize the wonderful contributions that Jerry Premo has made and continues to make throughout his distinguished career in both the public and private sectors,” said John M. Dionisio, chairman and chief executive officer, AECOM. “Jerry’s career demonstrates his passion for public transit and for people—especially young people. AECOM can think of no better way to honor the professional life of Jerry Premo than through this fully endowed $50,000 commitment to assist in the education of deserving students planning to dedicate their careers to public transportation.”

In addition to his 24-year career with AECOM, Premo was the first executive director of New Jersey Transit Corporation, chief executive officer of the former Los Angeles County Transportation Commission, and associate administrator of the then-Urban Mass Transportation Administration. His tenure with APTA has included service as vice chair; legislative committee chair; a member of the Business Member Board of Governors; chair of EXPO 2008; and, most recently, a member of the Executive Committee. He has been a contributor, committee member, and faculty member of Leadership APTA since its inception.

 

Photo by Todd Parola

The American Public Transportation Foundation recognized the establishment of a new named scholarship in honor of Jerome C. Premo, AECOM, at podium. APTF Chair Bonnie D. Shepherd and APTF board member Robert H. Prince Jr. join Premo.

 

2012 APTA LEGISLATIVE CONFERENCE COVERAGE

Szabo, Rogoff: Stay Focused on Safe, Dependable Transit

BY SUSAN R. PAISNER, Senior Managing Editor

The afternoon General Session on March 12—“Update from the U.S. Department of Transportation”—was spirited, with Administrators Joseph C. Szabo of the Federal Railroad Administration and Peter M. Rogoff of the Federal Transit Administration providing their candid views on authorization and the future of public transportation.

The moderator was Diana C. Mendes, AICP, vice chair, APTA Legislative Committee, and senior vice president, director of strategic investments for transportation, AECOM.

Szabo began by cautioning the audience not to be distracted by “the noise in the media or on Capitol Hill.” Acknowledging that everyone in the room wants transportation to return to being a bipartisan issue, he said DOT’s perspective is to “stay focused on the things we can control and ensure that Americans have safe, dependable options that make an America that’s built to last. We want America to have the safest, most modern, most structurally sound transportation structure in the world.”

He talked about high-speed and intercity rail as “a promising solution for our challenges ahead: not a competitor, but a partner of an integrated transportation network.” Noting resistance to this effort, Szabo added: “It’s fascinating to look at the game-changing transportation projects in our nation’s history—and in every one—the story has been the same: a magnet for naysayers.”

What if, he asked, people had disagreed with Abraham Lincoln when he said the U.S. needed a transcontinental railroad? Next he cited the New York/New Jersey tunnel, described by various critics at the time as “a boondoggle, financial and technologically impossible to build.”

“Today,” he said, “these projects are giant reminders of America’s success, the transportation projects that make our life possible and keep our economy moving. Today, we remember the presidents and governors who championed these great works,” not the individuals who tried to prevent them.

Stressing that “it’s time for action,” Szabo continued: “We need a forward-thinking budget and a transportation bill that will supply confidence in long-term planning. The future of our economy is at stake, and America deserves options.”

Rogoff began his remarks by effectively echoing Szabo: “This is not a time for any member of the transit community to be relaxed, to be reflective. We need to be very clear we are, in fact, in a true battle for the future of public transportation in America.”

He called the House proposal, H.R. 7, a “deliberate scheme to take what monies we have available and to put public transportation on a starvation diet depending on the most controversial elements in the bill.” He also emphasized that, based on his years of experience, the only bill one should discuss was the bill in hand—not the promise of a future bill.

Rogoff provided specifics about the president’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget, which he called “an alternative vision, a viable, fully financed funding proposal.”

This budget includes significant growth in New Starts funding, strong growth for a State of Good Repair program in both bus and rail, and temporary and targeted operating assistance. He said the president “knows why public transit is out there—that it’s a critically important transportation choice as well as a lifeline for those who don’t have a choice.”

Because the broader goal of a multimodal transportation authorization bill is unchanged, Rogoff urged that people overcome their issues with proposed legislation: “When we’re faced with the kind of threats we’ve been faced with in the last few weeks, this is not the time for divisiveness.”

He also reminded the audience that everybody needs to hear from them: “We need to be reaching out to people—including elected leaders who really don’t know how we’re funded and don’t know how important the service is that we put out. We need to stop just speaking to our friends.”

During the Q&A session that followed, Rogoff stressed that “we have to better understand how we capture the technology that young people communicate with—because it has to become their battle, because it’s their future.” The youth, he explained, have not needed to make their case for 30 years. “All they know is the bus comes. They don’t know who’s paying for it.”

Szabo noted that “it’s such a recharge for the batteries to get into the communities. It’s such a focus for you to see what it’s all about. When the public has this dialogue, they learn what transit means.”

Mendes closed the session by thanking the speakers who “reinforced to us some really important messages. Don’t wait, act now, don’t become distracted by the detractors, but take from them so we can be better communicators—so we can speak with one voice for a balanced transportation system for the future.”

Cummings, Norton, ‘Advocacy Guru’ Address Conference

BY SUSAN R. PAISNER, Senior Managing Editor

Participants in APTA’s Legislative Conference heard from Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) and Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), as well as “advocacy guru” Stephanie Vance, at the March 13 “Get Started with Members of Congress” General Session.

Cummings captivated the audience from his opening words: “It was a bus ...” He explained: “It was a bus that took my mother at 5 a.m. as a domestic to go out into the suburbs of Baltimore. It was a bus that allowed my father to get to work and take care of his family. It was a bus that took my neighbors from place to place because, in my whole block of 35 houses, there was only one car.

“It was a bus that took a young boy who was trying to pull himself up by his bootstraps to get from a poor school to a great school. It was a bus that allowed me to make that journey. It was bus drivers who greeted me with a smile, who were a constant in my life, and said: ‘Get yourself an education.’ And it was a bus driver who showed up for my graduation.

“So I come by here to thank all of you,” Cummings said, adding: “That’s why it’s so important that you be on the Hill today. There are people depending on you—they have no other way. If they cannot move, they cannot progress.”

The congressman from Baltimore noted that the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee used to be the most bipartisan one in Congress, but “now, sadly, it has become one of the most divided.”

Further, he said, the discord extends beyond the committee: “The House is so divided that they do not appear to have the votes to pass this terrible bill [H.R. 7].” He cited a headline from The Hill that read: “Speaker Boehner’s Bill is on Life Support.”

“Ladies and gentlemen,” Cummings said, “it is time to pull the plug.”

He stressed that the legislative reality is “we have a long, hard fight ahead to ensure our transit doors stay open.”

He quoted former Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater, who said: “Transportation is about more than concrete, asphalt, and steel. It’s about meeting the needs of the American people.”

Cummings emphasized that public transit is not just about the “now,” but also about “people who will be born 30-40 years from now.” He stated: “I will always be on your side—and on the side of millions of public transit riders in this nation.”

He closed by saying: “It’s nice to come and tell us ‘thank you’—but don’t spend a lot of time with us: we’re already on your side. Send us a note, spend five minutes with us, then go to the other side of the aisle and ask someone who doesn’t agree with you: why aren’t you supporting transit? Don’t be shy,” he advised, adding, “just do it.”

Norton—introduced as “one of our foremost allies in the House” by Mort Downey, president, Mort Downey Consulting, and board member, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority—did not hold back in her perspective on the status of public transportation in Congress.

“I’ll try to give you some sense of the political situation that I hope you can pierce,” she began. The issue is, she said, whether the members of the House will complete any surface transportation bill this year: “My prediction is there will be an extension.”

Norton continued: “The truest sign of a dysfunctional House is when you can’t pass a transportation bill. It’s formula driven: every district gets what it wants and needs.” She questioned why (and how) a bill could be constructed that has received opposition “from labor leaders to the Club for Growth. If that range and everything in between opposes it, why would you come forth with this?”

The Senate bill then under consideration, she noted, is not what everyone might want, “but it’s probably the only bill you’re going to get.”

Norton pointed out that, while people are going back to public transportation, “you have a Congress that is not listening.” She stressed: “I do call upon you to understand—these are very different members. This is a House in need of expertise, but I warn you … the problem is not money.”

She closed by urging the audience: “Make them produce some bill. Tell them: Pass a transportation bill in 2012 before you go home!”

The session opened with Vance, with Advocacy Advocates LLC, who presented an energized primer on what to say and what not to say to members of Congress and their staffs when advocating for investment in public transportation. As APTA members prepared to visit Capitol Hill that afternoon, Vance provided a variety of suggestions on how to be effective and compelling in conveying their message.

Noting that it had been 895 days since the expiration of SAFETEA-LU, she told the audience: “Right now is the perfect time to be here.” She urged APTA members to tell their local stories and tie their messages to what is in their member’s specific interests. In addition, she said, “Be specific on where your system interacts with their districts. And thank them.”

Among her many additional tips and techniques:
* Make an appointment. Promise: “I’ll only take 15 minutes of your time.”
* Don’t underestimate staff.
* Don’t leave behind volumes of materials; a couple of pages are sufficient.
* Don’t bring a lot of people; Hill offices are small. Offer to follow the very busy member to wherever he or she is going. Don’t be offended if the meeting takes place in the hallway.
* Be specific on what you are asking for. For example, she said: “Will you support a multimodal, multi-year transportation bill?”
* Be persistent. When you return home, follow up.
* Set up local events such as town hall meetings to create momentum.

Vance also offered some tips on what not to do, including saying: “No, I don’t represent your district. Is it nice there?”

In closing, she offered a light-hearted admonition: “Remember this—do not embarrass me.”

Kathy Golden also contributed to this story.

Garrett Cites Congress for Lack of Bipartisanship

BY SUSAN BERLIN, Senior Editor

“I’ve covered Congress, on and off, since 1990, and I’ve never seen anything like the past two years. What I’m seeing is a tolerance of minimalism and mediocrity that could be a threat to the nation…. In the past, it wasn’t considered an accomplishment that Congress didn’t shut down the government and did raise the debt ceiling.”

National Journal reporter Major Garrett emphasized the polarization of Congress and the difficulty of compromise, both between the two parties and between the House and Senate, in his March 11 remarks before the APTA Legislative Conference.

“In 1982, when National Journal first examined the makeup of Congress, the Senate had 58 members between the most liberal Republican and the most conservative Democrat. Now there are none,” Garrett explained. “In the House, there were 357 members between the most liberal Republican and the most conservative Democrat; now there are seven. Even if someone intends to create compromise, the middle ground is smaller.”

Garrett suggested that the current situation arises from legislators who refuse to consider differing opinions. “People used to begin the discussion with yes/maybe,” he said. “Now, most of the time, the dialogue begins with no.”

In his comments on the state of the presidential race, Garrett characterized the different worldviews of supporters of Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. Romney’s backers are “rationals,” he said, who believe he has the best chance of winning the nomination and the election. In contrast, Santorum supporters are “notionals” who “have a notion that there’s someone better out there.”

President Obama now has an approval rating of 46-50 percent, compared with previous figures in the 30s, he said, but Congress’ rating is “mired in the low to mid teens.”

In his welcoming remarks, Richard Sarles, chief executive officer, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, called on conference participants to “make the case for robust public transportation funding” when they meet with their members of Congress and staffers. “This is a critical time for public transportation,” he stressed. “It’s important that everyone on Capitol Hill knows the importance of public transit—the way it serves riders safely and efficiently.”

URS Corporation sponsored the session.

Congressional Staffers Provide Bill Updates

BY CHAD CHITWOOD, Program Manager-Communications

A strong panel of congressional staffers presented an update on Capitol Hill activity at a March 12 session during the APTA Legislative Conference in Washington. Their conversation took place in the same week that the Senate passed a transportation authorization.

Homer Carlisle, majority professional staff member for the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, said: “The message of public transportation is great for members going home and campaigning. When they come back, they are looking to invest and improve the economy.”

Shannon Hines, who works for the minority staff of the same Senate committee, said she was excited about the bill the Senate was considering. She called the legislation “a truly bipartisan bill that has good parts; it makes changes and—while change is hard—it is needed.”

Jim Tymon, majority staff director for the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, reported on the status of the House version of surface transportation authorization, which at the time was stuck between committee and the floor with many unsure how it will progress. The bill—with a title that would have eliminated the Mass Transit Account of the Highway Trust Fund and instituted an Alternative Transit Account—faced a lack of support from Democrats and moderate Republicans.

Meanwhile, T&I minority professional staff member Helena Zyblikewycz offered a different view of the bill. “It is dismaying [that] part of this process has been getting to 218 [votes] in the House when 198 Democrats have not been included,” she said. “A partisan bill was created without consultation and introduced three days before markup.”

While there was a difference of opinion among the panelists, the discussion was deep and covered a wide swath, allowing APTA members direct discourse with the professional staff working on the bills daily.

 

Photo by Todd Parola

Panelists at the “View from the Hill” session include, from left, Helena Zyblikewycz, Jim Tymon, Shannon Hines, Homer Carlisle, and moderator Richard Bacigalupo.

 

APTA Partners Discuss Need for Authorization Bill

BY KATHY GOLDEN, Editor

At a March 12 General Session, “The Transit Coalition: Partners in Transportation Authorization,” representatives of stakeholders in the authorization process discussed their respective organizations’ advocacy efforts on behalf of a surface transportation bill and called for quick passage.

Moderator Ronald L. Epstein, chair, APTA, Finance and Tax Policy Subcommittees, and chief financial officer, New York State DOT, Albany, NY, opened the session, calling the panelists powerful advocates for public transportation and surface transportation in all modes.

John Horsley, executive director, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, told the audience that the states want, and need, transportation in the Highway Trust Fund: “The states were solid together with public transportation and APTA.”

America can’t move forward without a transportation bill, Horsley said, and we “simply have to get a bill through the House.” He urged APTA members to visit every Congressional member they could.

Janet F. Kavinoky, executive director, congressional and public affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and vice president, Americans for Transportation Mobility, said there is finally “light at the end of the tunnel, but we still have to fight our way through the House bill.” She said that it was a “terrific time” to be in Washington: the House needs to pass a transportation bill and get into conference with the Senate, while Congress is focused on the nation’s debt.

“We eat, sleep, and breathe transportation,” Kavinoky said, “but some are just now waking up to it now.” As APTA members prepared to go to the Hill that afternoon, she advised them that “what matters in Washington are stories. We need to be better storytellers,” specifically why transportation matters.

Dale J. Marsico, executive director, Community Transportation Association of America, noted that “every other interest group is in the same place” as APTA. “It’s just not something we can control based on the good work we do,” he said.” There are serious things wrong in the political process. More people need to get involved.”

He said all the partners need to find a way to engage those members who represent them, both in Washington and at home: “We need to take our story to them and make it simple. Not only do we need to talk to our members, we need to stand on our soapbox and say: ‘I am the most important investment you are going to make with our tax dollars. Without us, millions of Americans will not be able to get to work. Tell them public transit moves people and makes their lives possible.’”

Dave Bauer, senior vice president of government relations, The American Road & Transportation Builders Association, said the audience members are “all partners in public transportation; we’re not just people who work together when it is convenient.” He noted that public transit and highways are interconnected and, echoing the theme of the session, emphasized the necessity of partnerships.

Jeffrey Soth, assistant director, Department of Legislative and Political Affairs, International Union of Operating Engineers, said no federal legislation is more important to operating engineers than the transportation bill: “The country is in a recession but the construction industry is in a depression.” Noting his industry has lost two million jobs already, he said, “This makes us anxious about the future in the context of transportation.”

 

Photo by Todd Parola

Participants in the session include, from left, Dave Bauer, Jeffrey Soth, Dale Marsico, Janet Kavinoky, John Horsley, and moderator Ronald L. Epstein.

 

Scenes from the 2012 APTA Legislative Conference

 

 

Photo by Todd Parola

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood pledged the administration’s continued support of a well-funded surface transportation authorization bill and thanked APTA for its help with this effort.

Photo by Todd Parola

Kevin Desmond, left, general manager, King County Metro Transit, visits with APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy at the Capitol Hill Reception in the Rayburn House Office Building cafeteria.

 

 

Photo by Todd Parola

During the March 10 meeting of the APTA Board of Directors, APTA Chair Gary C. Thomas displays two newly released APTA white papers.

Photo by Todd Parola

A sizable crowd listened to LaHood’s comments at the Opening General Session.

 

 

Photo by Mitch Wood

An APTA Legislative Conference tradition, The Capitol Steps entertained during Monday’s luncheon, sponsored by Veolia.

Photo by Todd Parola

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) participated in the “Get Started with Members of Congress” breakfast session March 13.

 

 

Photo by Todd Parola

FTA Administrator Peter M. Rogoff, second from left, and FRA Administrator Joseph C. Szabo, right, led the “Update from U.S. DOT” General Session. From left are Diana C. Mendes, AICP, session moderator; Rogoff; Melaniphy; Thomas; and Szabo.

Photo by Todd Parola

During his Monday morning remarks, Melaniphy emphasized that U.S. public transportation ridership hit a record high in 2011: 10.4 billion trips.

 

 

Photo by Mitch Wood
At a March 14 event, the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials recognized 14 women including SEPTA Board Member Rina Cutler, third from left; Jane Chmielinski, AECOM, fourth from left; Shirley DeLibero, DeLibero Transportation Strategies LLC, fifth from right; Beverly Swaim-Staley, Maryland DOT, third from right; and Dr. Beverly A. Scott, MARTA, right, at an event titled “Celebrating Women Who Move the Nation."

Photo by Tom Tobiassen, RTD Board of Directors

Former Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT) visits with APTA Vice Chair Flora Castillo, left, and Angela Iannuzziello, first vice chair, APTA Business Member Board of Governors, after addressing the March 12 breakfast, “The ‘Insider’ Perspective for the Transit Industry.”

 

 

Photo by Todd Parola

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) speaks Tuesday morning at the APTA Legislative Conference.

Photo by Todd Parola

During the Capitol Hill Reception, FTA Deputy Administrator Therese McMillan, left, talks with Lisa Bacot, executive director, Florida Public Transportation Association.

 

 

Photo by Todd Parola

Members of the APTA Executive Committee—from left, Phillip Washington, Greg Evans, Sharon Greene, and Sharon McBride—head to a meeting with White House officials.

Photo by Todd Parola

APTA Past Chair Michael J. Scanlon, left, and Charles Wochele, a member of the APTA Executive Committee, participate in the Tuesday afternoon reception.

 

 

Photo by Mitch Wood

Chatting with Melaniphy, right, at the Capitol Hill Reception are John Saylor, Los Alamos Technical Associates, left, and Joseph Alexander, Alexander Group.

Photo by Mitch Wood

From left: Huelon Harrison, principal, Legacy Resource Group; Jonathan Lee, business development representative, Parsons Corporation; and Crystal Lyons, president and CEO, Crystal Fortune Lyons LLC, meet at the Tuesday afternoon reception.

 

 

Photo by Todd Parola

The Leadership APTA Class of 2012 convened during the Legislative Conference.

Photo by Todd Parola

The Opening General Session audience welcomed LaHood with a standing ovation