APTA | Passenger Transport
January 18, 2010

In This Issue

Employment positions in this issue's classifieds include an Executive Director; an Executive Director, Operations; and a Chief Operations Officer!


The Year Ahead: How I See It
BY M.P. CARTER, Chair, APTA, and Commissioner, Memphis Area Transit Authority, Memphis, TN

This year – 2010 – has such tremendous potential.

First of all, I’m hoping that this last extension for authorization of the public transit funding legislation is the last – and that we pass the bill in the near future, under my watch. I know that there are front-burner items, such as Afghanistan and health care reform, but we really need our recommendations made into law so that we can advance public transportation for the citizens of this country.

No matter, we will keep pushing for a much larger federal investment that will advance our industry. But that brings me to several other areas that will also move public transportation forward this year.

In December, APTA’s Executive Committee approved major changes in our governance and committee structure. What we’ve produced will really make our organization and our committees stronger, and a vital part of the transportation industry – and make APTA the organization it needs to be in the 21st century.

We have a high hurdle to climb, though, to pass these changes in our bylaws. It’s 67 percent – so get those cards and letters in! In other words, VOTE! The sooner we get the vote in, the sooner we can implement the wonderful ideas that have been brought forward, and the sooner we can see our organization grow.

Another major change is our dynamic and transformative Strategic Plan, covering 2010-2014; the Executive Committee approved the draft of this plan last November. Developing it was one HUGE effort of many people, involving Annual Meeting sessions, webinars, surveys, and feedback gained through our website.

It will be our vehicle for taking APTA to the next level and positioning our association for the future. 

Please remember to give your input on the draft by mid-February to me, Bill Millar, or APTA First Vice Chair Mike Scanlon, who is leading the effort this year. We will present the final version of the new Strategic Plan to the APTA Board of Directors for adoption at its next meeting in mid-March.

Workforce development is another ongoing APTA effort, and one of my initiatives as Chair. There’s a great need for training, educating, and recruiting of what I like to term “new blood,” many of whom don’t realize the opportunities that await them in the transportation field.

As part of our efforts to promote public transportation as a career, in 2009 we embarked upon an initiative to reach 9,000 K-12 students. We met that goal – and went past it! – reaching over 14,000! This year, we will develop resources for educators and transit systems to use in continuing to encourage the youth of America to pursue a career in public transit.

Permeating all of my work so far, though, are the efforts of everyone in Telling Our Story.

And to be quite frank, I’m ecstatic over this. I have great hope that during our District Days, Congressional representatives will go back to Capitol Hill with real facts and good information that gives them insight into why we need an increased federal investment. Through your story-telling efforts, they will learn how our industry helps “green” America and how it provides jobs.

They will also learn why, in these difficult economic times, the answer is not to cut service: that’s a dichotomy that must not happen. So it’s incumbent on us to tell the whole story – the positives and the negatives, because once they receive the hard facts, they’ll better understand our industry and be more convinced that we need their support.

I’ve learned over the years that people see things differently when they know what’s going on – rather than just relying on opinions – or guesses.

One more point I’d like to make as we look ahead to this year, and that is, we must enhance small business participation in our industry because they are the backbone of our country. I see this as a real opportunity for APTA.

The Diversity Council, in concert with the Procurement and Materials Management Committee, the BMBG Small Business Committee, and COMTO (Conference of Minority Transportation Officials), is looking at ways APTA can strengthen its support of small businesses. I look forward to their recommendations.

If we can help in that regard, we will have done a yeoman’s job in benefiting our members.

Also, I want to single out the creative and outstanding Leadership APTA project. It’s incredible the young people we have. The energy and the passion they bring will be making waves throughout our industry – and those are good waves! I see them as the bread and butter of our industry, so I will be encouraging and supporting them in any way we possibly can. By combining their youthful energy with our “mature” wisdom – that marriage is unstoppable!

There are so many initiatives and projects on the table – we have a lot of things that we could do. If we pull together and complete the things that we’ve started – then 2010 will be colossal for us.

So that’s my look ahead at our opportunities and our goals for 2010. May we capitalize on the former and work diligently to achieve and exceed the latter.

 That's my story and I’m sticking to it.

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