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Meet the Policy and Planning Committee!

Policy and Planning Committee
Chair: Lee Gibson, executive director, Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County, NV; member, APTA Board of Directors
APTA Staff Advisor: Art Guzzetti, vice president-policy
408 members   |   Find details here

What is the committee’s role for APTA and the industry as a whole?

The Policy and Planning Committee’s (P+P Committee) role for APTA is to provide knowledge and leadership in looking at issues related to the planning and delivery of transit projects; relating transit planning needs to regional planning efforts; working with our federal partners at USDOT to advocate for planning process improvements; and, last but not least—listening and facilitating discussion among APTA members on best practices.

What are the committee’s top priorities for the year?

Top priorities include implementing the planning provisions of MAP-21 and the FAST Act. A key piece of this has been facilitating discussions on best practices for performance-based planning.

We have also emphasized our ability to forge partnerships with MPOs and state DOTs. Indeed, the planning process is very focused on the outreach process and building consensus on projects.

How does the committee engage members in those priorities?

I am a great believer in face-to-face exchanges. This past year APTA and FTA have partnered to sponsor roundtables on best practices for performance-based planning.

This gives folks an opportunity to learn and network with their peers (usually from their respective FTA region) and talk amongst the stakeholders—MPOs, local governments (especially planning and public works people) and state DOTs.

We have also had an ongoing effort to highlight best practices in performance-based planning at APTA events such as the Bus & Paratransit Conference, the Rail Conference and the Annual Meeting.

APTA’s committees play an important role in fulfilling the association’s commitment to developing industry leaders, especially young professionals. Please share how your committee encourages young professionals to participate in its work.

Emerging professionals in the planning arena are often thrust to the forefront of project challenges—either through performing research on a wide variety of environmental, regulatory, financial and operational issues and/or through front line experience in developing public consensus through the design and development of outreach initiatives.

We like these professionals to bring these experiences to APTA events and tell us their story. Our subcommittees are especially valuable opportunities to get involved. From the Environmental Justice/Title VI Subcommittee to the Metropolitan Planning Subcommittee, we have ample areas where emerging professionals may demonstrate their expertise.

Please share how an individual’s service on this committee can add value to his or her career.

I think participation in the P+P Committee is one of the best ways to differentiate yourself in the industry, network with your peers and advance your career and possibly become the CEO. That is what I did.

You immediately get exposed to best practices that you can take home and apply to your portfolio of projects. Showing you have a national base for ideas differentiates you in your organization and gets you recognized as a leader in your community, and that is what helps create long-term value and career advancement.

The P+P Committee is actively engaged with FTA. This gives you the opportunity to learn, understand and shape the federal process. I always tell folks that FTA is a great organization and they actually listen to us. Most of the regulations and processes they issue generally reflect our input and the P+P Committee is right in the middle of that experience.

Please describe the committee’s work to advance the goals in APTA’s ­strategic plan (safety and security, resource advocacy, workforce development, ­demographic shifts and technological innovation).

Our work is central to advancing the APTA strategic plan. Best practices in planning and policy development link each of these topics together.

I think the one I focus on is understanding demographic shifts, the influence these shifts have on the demand for public transit services and ultimately how we translate this understanding into resource advocacy.

We need to develop resources (funding sources) that capture the value created by the new demographics using public transit in a knowledge economy.

As an organization, we need to continue to develop and expand funding sources that support transit investment, workforce development and job creation for communities across the nation.
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