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Opening General Session: Chair McCall Notes APTA Legislative Achievements

APTA Chair Valarie J. McCall opened the Legislative Conference by noting the association’s major accomplishments, from its efforts to pass the FAST Act to extensions for alternative fuel tax credits and installation of PTC to the inclusion of passenger rail provisions in the act and of commuter tax credits in the tax code.

“Every year, we gather here to maintain APTA’s strong working partnership with the federal government and our Washington-based allies, but this year feels different,” she said. “And it’s all because of what we achieved in Congress this past year,” McCall added.

After years of hard work by so many people, “you deserve to make this conference a celebration,” she said.

McCall, board member, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, and chief of government and international affairs for the city of Cleveland, also stressed the importance of continuing APTA’s collaborative efforts with local and regional officials through such groups as the National League of Cities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National Association of Regional Councils, partners in her signature initiative as chair. (The initiative also includes strengthening collaborative efforts among APTA’s three member segments—transit agencies, businesses and board members.)

“We’ve been successful because we collaborated, communicated and coordinated … with long-standing partners,” she said. “It’s important that we maintain these strong connections with valuable allies who can help us address our capital needs and operational needs.”

McCall was joined during the session by APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy who thanked members for attending the conference and gaining insight into leveraging the greatest benefits from the FAST Act for their systems, ­businesses and communities.

He said policymakers and regulators are going to make many decisions in the coming months that will determine how the act is interpreted, implemented and enforced.

Melaniphy also said the industry must begin now to shape how public transportation will be financed for the long term. “I pledge to you that we will not just have a seat at the table where and when those decisions are made … we will define the issues and drive the discussions at every table,” he said. “This is APTA’s first priority.”

Melaniphy also spoke about the emergence of shared, integrated mobility and what it means for APTA. (See the related article in the Commentary section.)

In addition to thanking members and partners for the successes of the past year, McCall recognized the association’s Executive Committee, especially Vice Chair Doran Barnes, executive director, Foothill Transit, West Covina, CA; Legislative Committee Chair J. Barry Barker, executive director, Transit Authority of River City, Louisville, KY; Patrick Scully, executive vice president, sales and marketing, Motor Coach Industries; Melaniphy and APTA senior staff.

The session was sponsored by RouteMatch Software, Inc. represented by Pepper Harward, vice president, transit solutions.

APTA Chair Valarie J. McCall applauds successes; encourages greater collaboration.

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