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APTA Drives Home Advocacy Messages: Legislative Conference Highlights

President Trump and the 115th Congress are nearing the midpoint of the 100-day mark for the new administration, setting policies and priorities that continue to shift the political landscape as the public transportation industry converges on Washington, DC, for APTA’s Legislative Conference, March 12-14.

Conference discussions will explore the president’s call to invest $1 trillion in infrastructure, among other topics.

Since the inauguration, APTA has been meeting with top decision makers in Washington, DC. Acting President & CEO Richard A. White and members of the Government Affairs staff have conducted more than 50 meetings with congressional staff, focusing on those that serve on budget, appropriations, tax and authorization committees, and the association is taking proactive steps to engage with members of Congress.

In addition, a delegation of APTA leaders met with DOT Secretary Elaine L. Chao and her staff. Representing APTA were Chair Doran J. Barnes. Vice Chair Nathaniel Ford Sr., Legislative Committee Vice Chair Diana Mendes, White, and Rose Sheridan, vice president-communications and marketing.

APTA encourages its ­members to:

* Emphasize the importance of federal public transportation in strengthening local and the national economies and advocate for transit’s continued growth and enhancement. Further, public transit must be part of any proposal to increase infrastructure investment.

* Build on the momentum of the conference by continuing to meeting with elected officials in Washington, DC, and in their home districts.

“APTA’s advocacy depends on transit system and business members building relationships with their members of Congress and congressional staff and telling their transit story early and often,” said White.

On the Agenda: Speakers Plus
Conference attendees will start the first full day of the conference with “The ‘Insider’ Perspective for the Transit Industry,” a sit-down breakfast with Jack Howard, senior vice president, congressional and public affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The APTA Business Member Activity Fund sponsors this event.

Howard’s 25-year-plus experience in politics and government includes serving in the White House for Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush and with Republican leadership.

The Opening General Session, which follows the breakfast, features comments from APTA’s leadership including APTA Chair Doran J. Barnes and Acting President & CEO White, and remarks from senior DOT leaders who will address the future of the department and the specific priorities of the new administration.

On Tuesday, March 14, the “Get Started with Members of Congress” breakfast session will be moderated by APTA Vice Chair Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. Scheduled speakers include Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), John Delaney (D-MD), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson Jr. (D-GA) and Seth Moulton (D-MA). The members are expected to discuss the FAST Act, FY 2017 federal spending bills and the FY 2018 budget, potential infrastructure and tax reform legislation.

A Capitol Hill reception that afternoon in the Rayburn House Office Building includes remarks from Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), chairman of the T&I Committee’s Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.

Previously, Passenger Transport reported on two sessions: “Welcome to Washington” with Robert Costa, national political reporter, the Washington Post, and Amy Walter, national editor, the Cook Political Report, and “Public Transportation: A Catalyst to Local Economic Development,” moderated by APTA Immediate Past Chair Valarie J. McCall with Robin-Eve Jasper, NoMa Business Improvement District, Washington, DC; former Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy, Urban Land Institute; and Scott Rowe, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

Other sessions include the “View from the Hill” with congressional committee staff, a lunchtime presentation by the Capitol Steps, numerous committee meetings and an FTA workshop on the Capital Investment Program.

APTA is also organizing a press conference to announce the results of its new study, Who Rides Public Transportation (see related story), and a radio media tour during which industry executives will participate in news interviews.

Doran J. Barnes Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. Valarie J. McCall Richard A. White Rep. Seth Moulton
Rep. Hank Johnson
Rep. Sam Graves
Rep. John Delaney
Rep. Earl Blumenauer
Jack Howard

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