December 16, 2016
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Committee Chairs Reflect on Key 2016 Activities, Priorities

APTA’s committees, subcommittees
and task forces play an important role in
helping the association carry out its core mission, from setting industry standards to recommending policy to the Board of Directors, planning conferences, vetting and disseminating best practices, engaging members from a wide range of industry disciplines and advising APTA staff on strategic initiatives. What were some of their key accomplishments and priorities? For answers,
Passenger Transport asked a few committee chairs to comment for this one-question interview:

What was your committee’s most significant priority or accomplishment for 2016?

Legislative Committee: Representing APTA's 'Big Tent'
J. Barry Barker
Executive Director
Transit Authority of River City
Louisville, KY
In Washington, DC, Congress concluded 2015 with passage of the first long-term surface transportation bill in more than a decade, the FAST Act, along with permanent parity for the transit commuter benefit, extensions of tax credits important to the public transportation industry and other key legislation.

The long-term nature of these laws gave our committee an opportunity in 2016 to assess our priorities and have a frank discussion about how to be inclusive and represent diverse viewpoints in APTA’s big tent. The Legislative Committee’s work this year will be critical to shaping APTA’s advocacy in 2017 and beyond.

The election in November set the table for an interesting and uncertain 115th Congress. President-elect Trump has suggested dramatically increasing investment in our nation’s transportation infrastructure and other sectors. Nothing comes free, however, and the Republican-­controlled Congress will have its work cut out for it on agenda items such as tax and budget reforms, which may be used to fund an infrastructure initiative.

APTA will speak with one voice to urge Congress to invest in public transportation and put the Highway Trust Fund on a long-term, sustainable course. At the same time, our association must be prepared to fight against any attempt to diminish federal support for public transportation.

The Legislative Committee has done great work so far to draft principles that will guide APTA’s advocacy in any potential infrastructure initiative. By incorporating contributions from many different viewpoints, we were able to produce an advocacy document that was approved by the Legislative Committee and the APTA Board of Directors in early December. Work will continue, and I encourage everyone to remain engaged in the process.

Our most significant accomplishment this year was the great work the Task Force on Member Consensus was able to complete over multiple meetings and many candid, passionate and thoughtful discussions.

As a result of this work, we included more voices for broader representation in the Legislative Steering Committee, changed our voting rules and set the expectations of our committee to achieve consensus and resolve conflicts. It will be incumbent on each of us to live by the spirit of these changes as we continue to work for the best interests of our industry.
I hope you all have a happy and safe holiday season, and I look forward to a productive 2017!

Diversity Council: Reviewing, Refreshing Plan
Nathaniel P. Ford Sr.
CEO, Jacksonville Transportation Authority
Jacksonville, FL
APTA Vice Chair

2016 was a successful year for the Diversity Council. Earlier this year, under the leadership of past council Chair Doran J. Barnes, amendments were made to the Diversity Plan.

In October, brainstorming sessions were held to discuss the goals, set a timeline and lay the groundwork for future efforts. The task force formed three working groups to focus on the key issues that need to be addressed:

* Working Group #1—Diversity Council Mandate, Membership and Structure: This working group will be tasked with reviewing and proposing changes to the mandate, membership and structure of the Diversity Council. The goal of this working group is to promote inclusion, create a strong structure with continuity in leadership and provide the tools and meeting schedule necessary for the council to implement and track initiatives.

*  Working Group #2—Review and Refresh Diversity Plan: This working group will be tasked with reviewing the current Diversity Plan, including revisiting its goals and objectives. The goal of this working group is to establish an “inclusion plan,” which celebrates, not dictates, differences that promote diversity and sets out initiatives and activities to further diversity and inclusion in the association and industry.

* Working Group #3—Metrics and Performance Indicators: This working group will be tasked with establishing Key Performance Indicators and other means of measuring the outcomes (not outputs) of the plan. The goal of this working group is to create metrics that can track the Diversity Plan’s successes, needs and shortcomings.

APTA recognizes the value and importance of promoting and ensuring an atmosphere of respect, tolerance and diversity. We cherish and respect the differences that exist within our industry and our society.

I am looking forward to moving the agenda and making 2017 a banner year.

Human Resources: Focusing on High Value, High Return
Paul Larrousse
Director, National Transit Institute
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
The Human Resources Committee and its subcommittees have had an exceptional year in rolling out programs and initiatives that addressed some of the industry’s most important workforce development needs.

This year was the first time the committee offered three rounds of its organizational development workshop, which addressed the critical issues of diversity, veterans and underserved populations; provided innovative approaches to challenges; and convened transit professionals to share best practices and continue the conversation.

In collaboration with the Transportation Research Board Standing Committee on Education and Training and the National Network for the Transportation Workforce, the committee held a highly successful webinar on diversity, careers and opportunities and organizational transformations. The webinar featured several industry experts, including Lydia C. Grose, director, engineering and design civil engineering, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, and Leticia Barajas, vice president of academic affairs and workforce, Los Angeles Trade Technical College. The industry has shown a deep interest in these topics, and through member support and partnerships we have been able to reach a broad and attentive audience.

Additionally, we rolled out the National Transit Curriculum, a stellar example of dedicated transit leaders giving back to the industry and one of the committee’s major deliverables in 2016.

With funding from Rutgers and North Dakota State universities, the curriculum was developed by a team of individuals from public transit agencies, firms, trade associations, federal agencies and academic institutions. The curriculum is intended to provide individuals with a basic understanding of the industry, increase their interest and prepare them to enter transit careers.

The voluntary work to create curriculum resources represents the industry’s desire to address a knowledge gap that can be closed by partnering with higher education and others to promote our industry to a wider audience. While the curriculum is aimed at graduate students, it can be modified and adapted to all learning situations and used for students of all levels. For details, click here.

Committee leadership recently met to identify an ambitious work program for the next few years and look forward to building on our achievements through 2017 and beyond. Our commitment to workforce development remains at the top of our agenda as we strive to make the committee one of the industry’s premier resources addressing this topic.

BMBG: Highlighting Accomplishments and Plans

Jeffrey Wharton
Mount Olive, NC

The Business Member Board of Governors (BMBG) has been extremely busy throughout 2016 under the astute leadership of Immediate Past Chair Patrick Scully, and by following in Pat’s footsteps, the BMBG continues its focus on supporting the APTA Strategic Plan 2015-2019.

Throughout 2016, various subcommittees, in accordance with the BMBG Activity Fund budget, have maintained their laser focus on multiyear work plans. A few of the highlights:

The Programs Subcommittee hit a home run with the APTA Annual Meeting’s 2016 Political Overview with Paul Begala and Mike Murphy; the Procurement Subcommittee participated in meetings with FTA to provide input and identify impacts of the new Buy America rule that increases the domestic content of rolling stock procurements to 70 percent by 2020; the Legislative Subcommittee continues to provide key input on policy issues and visits to Capitol Hill; the Business Development Subcommittee updated the Business Case for Investment in Public Transportation report and pursued ongoing sustainability initiatives; the Small Business Subcommittee continues its conference networking breakfasts, webinars and the intro of a SMARTBAR; and the Workforce Development Subcommittee is in final planning for the next Passenger Rail Engineering Education Symposium (p-REES) and the 2017 APTA Youth Summit.

APTA’s business members participated in both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions to educate political leaders and attendees about the importance of a robust public transportation network and the urgent need to increase federal investments. Business members also participated in the study mission to Cuba.

In addition, we have worked closely with APTA Chairs Valarie J. McCall and Doran J. Barnes to implement key initiatives around collaboration, inclusion, diversity and progressive change in APTA, and we’ve played an important part in completing the work outlined by the Collaboration Task Force.

We look forward to completing the ongoing work for the Revenue, Member Consensus and CEO Search task forces, and to the Annual Business and Planning Meeting, Jan. 24-27 in Clearwater, FL, which is open to all business members.

In conclusion, with the support of First Vice Chair Hugh Harrison and Second Vice Chair Eve Williams, the BMBG will be equally busy in 2017 as we further the great work of APTA and its foundation.

Bus & Paratransit CEOs: Tracking Common Issues, Connecting with Experts

Carl G. Sedoryk
General Manager/Chief Executive Officer
Monterey-Salinas Transit
Monterey, CA
Over the past year, the Bus & Paratransit CEOs Committee redirected its efforts from sharing practices to identifying a list of issues of common concern and inviting guest content experts to inform the committee.

The areas of concern identified during the past year include ongoing safety and security of our employees and customers, consistency and transparency of the FTA triennial review process, planning for the implementation of transit asset management/state of good repair (TAM/SGR) regulations, preparing our workforce for advanced technologies and the future of autonomous vehicles within our industry.

In response to these concerns, the leadership of the committee has set up an online APTA forum on the APTA website under “Transit Information” where members can share their most recent experiences with the triennial review process.

Additionally, we have had senior members of FTA leadership, including Acting Administrator Carolyn Flowers, appear before our committee to discuss the concerns of our committee members. At both the Transit CEOs Seminar, Orlando, and the Bus & Paratransit Conference, Charlotte, NC, the committee received systems safety and security updates from senior staff members of TSA and others at the Department of Homeland Security.

And at APTA’s Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, the committee heard and discussed a presentation on the public transit component of the National Cooperative Highway Research Program study of autonomous vehicle technology.

The committee also received an update from the FTA Final SGR/TAM Rule from Robert Tuccillo, FTA associate administrator for budget and policy, and an update on Bus Maintenance and Clean Propulsion webinars from the APTA Clean Propulsion Committee.
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