November 18, 2016
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Transportation's New Who's Who in Washington

As President-Elect Donald J. Trump prepares to make infrastructure investment one of his priorities, there are changes afoot for key federal public transportation policy makers and elected officials.

In the Executive Branch, a public transportation policy expert has been tapped to serve on Trump’s transition organization's “agency action” team making recommendations for managing federal agencies.

Leading the DOT agency action team is Shirley Ybarra, former senior transportation policy analyst at Reason Foundation, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit think tank. Ybarra served as Virginia’s secretary of transportation from 1998-2002, where she oversaw a budget of $3.2 billion and a staff of 13,000. She also served as the state’s deputy secretary from 1994-1998, during which time she authored Virginia’s Public-Private Transportation Act of 1995.

Previously, she was a senior policy advisor and special assistant for policy for former DOT Secretary Elizabeth Dole from 1983-1987. In 2001, Ybarra received the American Road and Transportation Builders Association’s (ARTBA) “Public-Private Ventures Entrepreneur of the Year Award” for her role in designing innovative infrastructure financing.

On Capitol Hill, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (T&I) will see several changes when the new Congress convenes in January.

Two members, Reps. John Mica (R-FL), a former committee chair, and Cresent Hardy (R-NV), were defeated in their re-election bids.

Other T&I members not returning to the committee include Reps. Richard Hanna (R-NY), Reid Ribble (R-WI) and Candice Miller (R-MI), who retired; Reps. Donna Edwards (D-MD) and Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), who left the House to run for the U.S. Senate and were defeated; and Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL), who lost her seat in a primary election.

On the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, Sens. David Vitter (R-LA) announced his retirement; Mark Kirk (R-IL) lost his re-election bid; and Richard Shelby (R-AL) is leaving the chairmanship.

Key changes to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee—the Senate highway committee—include leadership changes on both sides of the aisle: Sens. James Inhofe (R-OK) will leave the chairmanship and Barbara Boxer (D-CA), ranking member, announced that she is retiring.

As Passenger Transport went to press, reports indicate that lobbyists serving on the Trump transition team--including Martin Whitmer, founding partner of Whitmer & Worrall, LLC, a Washington, DC, government relations and consulting firm--may no longer be involved on the team. The transition team continues to evolve. See the Legislative Alert on the APTA website.
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