tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN April 2, 2015 3:30pm-5:31pm EDT
curious. talking about members of your state's delegations who may or may not understand the pressures that you're under what you would ask them for in terms of support? what can they do to help you with this? >> congress needs to get together and pass immigration reform. some sort of comprehensive reform. this needs to be solved by a law. you get the entire country behind. you don't have to worry about it being overturned in the courts years down the road in litigation and that gives us certainty and the uncertainty of the current situation people living in anaheim, a big issue in our city is trust and we want to build up trust with our police department and with our city. if there's a question of whether they will be able to stay here or even with the executive action it's hard to build up that trust. so, we're the ones that have to deal with this.
so when you do those conversations that leave you scratching your head a little bit. what are you asking for? what could washington do to make this easier for you? short of comprehensive? >> i don't know. short of comprehensive reform what they can do. president obama has chosen that course and we can agree or disagree with it, but he's not saying as the rest of us aren't saying we don't need a comprehensive solution because when you pick up pieces like border security and dealing with health care and dealing with the dreamers. you're still leading a big segment of the population in the communities today unaddressed in terms of their status and in terms of their contributions to our community and their feeling of being part of our community and for all of us in cities we want our residents to feel like they're in a secure place. >> all right. we have a question over here.
yeah? >> quick question. i've been a school principal for many, many years and what we've done when other students are coming from other places with other languages they would help our kids to learn those languages while our kids in english would help them to learn english and that's been -- i've been a principal in two or four different places and it seems to work and they're learning english and we're learning spanish or chinese or whatever. >> and that happens all the time in aurora? and five school districts have students from over 130 different countries who speak almost 140 different languages at home. that's just -- that's life and so i was at a class and kenneder
garten students about two weeks ago who were learning chinese mandarin and they were respond responding to the teacher in mandarin and the teacher was a volunteer. so we've got that kind of community -- >> and it's all free, too, right? >> right. >> that earlier question if i wanted to ask forring some i would want more resources with fewer restraints because i could sure find a good way to put it to use and it would help the entire community not just part of the community and the entire community. >> this point about the tradition. utah has a number of people who are fluent in a second language and i'm interested in what role, if any that plays in terms of
integrating the community. >> we saw it in the olympics and it provides a great benefit and like aurora we have over a hundred languages spoken in our schools and we have dual immersion programs and we have the continuous cross fertilization that provides strength in our community and our challenge really is resources that the societal dynamic has changed because of the changing cultures, additional cultures in our community and yet, it isn't reflective and we're not adapting as quickly to the educational system both taking full advantage of all these cultures in our community and we also are aren't providing resources for kids who don't know how to flush a toilet and much less being able to walk through a new language and culture. >> i'm guessing aurora and
anaheim, the major of the children in the school system are kids of color. >> it's true and i know that it's true in salt lake city as well. >> it is. and that must be something that people in salt lake city, can wrap their heads around. >> in salt lake city we're so accustom to it, that in salt lake city it's not an issue, but at the state level there is a pretty good gap. particularly when you look at a state legislature and that's predominantly white, male mormon and elderly, relatively speaking to the population. so they're a generation apart from what's happening in salt lake city and increasingly throughout the state. >> very quickly, we have a question over here. >> i asked two questions and i was going to ask two questions too. my question is what do you feel an appropriate time is for the pathway to citizenship? >> i would like to hear each of your individual responses and i ask this because i lived and
worked in the oklahoma system and had clients who would be in these systems for 10 to 15 years before they were granted citizenship and it was an issue a lot of times on the end of administration paperwork being lost and sometimes names change and they'll have four different last nates and a lot of paperwork problems and not necessarily were they qualified sincere and earnest in the process. what do you feel is an appropriate amount of time for that pathway to citizenship? >> did you take a position in the letter how long? >> we didn't address that in the letter and i don't have a strong opinion on that other than there should be one, and i guess you can debate whether they should wait you know, they should wait before anyone else has applied legally, and from a city point of view, people need a path to citizenship and it's not good to
have two classes of people ever, and so whether it's -- it should be -- it certainly shouldn't be forever, let's put it that way. the sooner the better. >> yeah. i don't know a specific timeframe. i know the estimates that have come out with the executive order suggest a certain timeframe and certainly we need to provide it to go through a process where their criminal background is checked and we know the condition and the inability of people to live within our society, but this is part of the federal broken immigration system, and i know people today who are trying to work their way through the process and following the legal channels and having every clear pathway and trying to become citizen, and it is a complete mess today and some of it is the inefficiency of a bigger government and bigger agency. some of it is just outdated mechanisms while everyone is in
a standstill waiting for congress to do something, and -- >> mayor? >> i'm not sure i can add anything to what was already said. i don't know what's the magic number. i do know it should not be any faster than someone who is going through the established legal processes. it shouldn't be any faster than that, but how much longer it should be, i don't know. >> we only have a couple of minutes left so let me ask one final question going back to the schools because you were all talking in a very positive way about the enriching effect about having so many different schools and languages and i'm just wondering to what extent you feel that the schools at this point, particularly in places that have not dealt with a lot of diversity are capable of dealing with this enormous kaleidoscopic change in school
districts of all sizes around the country. >> i'll just say in salt lake city there's a huge desire in equivalent commitment, but it is a change in resources. when you have a teacher that's got 25 30 students in a classroom in elementary school and they're trying to provide for diverse circumstances and then you add on the layers of culture and language and preparation coming into the school system it puts -- really an unfair burden on the teacher. so the commitment is there, the desire is there and the resources aren't there and i don't -- i don't want to cast blame, but we're you know, we're struggling with that piece of it and i can tell you from the salt lake city side, for the first time in the history of our city we are starting to pour resources into the school system that otherwise would be coming to city government to try to help address the issues. >> all right. final thought. >> i can just put out a plug? >> yes. >> for something that we just ran some coverage of on next
america and our sister project next economy which is a program here in d.c. it's a charter school that does two-generation education and it was started a decade or two ago by local leaders in immigrant communities so that they could teach children and teach their parents at the same time because so many immigrant parents are working jobs in off hours and they're able to come to school in school hours and their concern was the inability to communicate with their child's teachers and to be part of that education, to be able to support them and it has become a way to really speed up the assimilation process and also tie them into the larger community. >> all right. would you join me in thanking mayor hogan mayor becker and mayor tate? [ applause ] >> and our next panel will take the stage, joanna?
thank you very much. i'd like to start with nashville, tennessee. now you would not expect a lot of diversity from, you know the country music capital, but just in the last ten years that city has seen an enormous demographic shift, ten years ago, 2.5% of the population were foreign born and the number has risen by 10 percentage points by 12%, and it makes sense that that would be the city in which president obama in december would try to promote some of the executive actions that he took, and the woman that introduced him was renata soto. she's the director of accion americas and she started a non-profit collective and i would like to start off first by -- can you please explain what this collective does and how you -- how you started it? >> great.
>> so coneccion americas has been around for 12 years and we're a symptomatic change that has happened around the southeast, right? when latinos are now a population everywhere in the country and not just in the states or communities where we usually think of latino strongholds and the formation of coneccion americas is the reaction and a practical approach that they not only support resources to achieve the dreams that they were coming to pursue in nashville, but also that the host community was going through an adjustment to seeing a changing city in front of their eyes and that we needed as much support to the new congress about nashvilleans and also to make sure that we were taking steps forward and learning from the strong history of civil rights in nashville and
how we had moved so far in 50 years and the challenge of new communities coming into town and we had the opportunity to talk to each other and embrace those challenges head to head. casa san fran is nashvillians coming together. it is a collective that brings together in under one roof ten non-profits working with immigrants and refugees and with direct services and the civic integration and organizing and mental health services by the local school system based in the center and it is a place where native nashvillians get together in casual and actual ways and primarily through the performing arts and many other ways in which we make excuses and opportunities for native nashvillians to come to casa san
fran. we are located in the gateway to international district where many have settled in the last 20 years. it's not just latinos. nashville has, i believe the highest collective of kurdish immigrants in the country so it's not just that and also if you could explain the kind of support for food trucks or the collective kitchen i think people would like to hear that, as well? >> coneccion americas has been supporting and when we created it it was supported by both public and private investment in nashville and the federal government and we took the opportunity to grow the support to businesses particularly in the food industry and we went around the country and learned about shared commercial kitchens as a model and sharing economy where access is what matters and ownership, creating a shared commercial kitchen for those food entrepreneurs who need that expensive oven and commercial
stove and the prep area that meets the metro health department codes and so we created that kitchen as part of the development of the community center and we have about 12 full-time food entrepreneurs who call the kitchen home and they're from food trucks and wholesalers and caterers and it is one of the reasons why the federal government made an investment in casa safran and one reason why president obama chose it is an xafrmel elxample of the immigrant entrepreneurship at work just like immigrant waves before us have built communities around this country. >> president obama does not just highlight ms. soto's experience he also highlighted david lubell's and he is the founder of welcome america and one of the things you deal with is the public perception of the immigrants. there are organizations out there that help immigrants when they come to this country and we
want to address how communities deal with new immigrants and so i would love to hear some thoughts on that, as well. >> sure, definitely. thank you so much for having me. the one thing i want to say at the forefront here is that cities in the future, we saw that through the mayors and other participants up until this point and so we live in an era now where being welcoming to immigrants and to diversity is a net positive for your community and for your institution and congress is living in the past and cities are living in the future. >> i just had to say that. >> it was on my mind, but as far as the issue of climate, most of the country lives in a new gateway and immigrant gateway and i lived in nashville and i lived in atlanta and lived in nashville through the transformation. and most cities in the country have seen a large growth in the immigrant population or are trying to attract immigrants to
their city but the traditional gateways are in six states and there are 24 states that don't have traditional gateways and so in those new gateway communities and those new gateway states, people are not used to seeing immigrants and have fears and concerns that are not being answered except by the talk show radio host and you wouldn't want to answer those kinds of questions and they're not answering them accurately and so the work that we did in tennessee or the work we do around the country is partially focused on creating a welcoming climate and educating u.s.-born individuals and communities about the realities that the positive elements that, you know, immigration and immigrants bring to communities and also bringing immigrants and u.s.-born individuals into direct contact with one another and when you have a welcoming climate then you can get to welcoming policies and welcoming institutions and then it's a totally different community. >> i believe you've expanded to
48 different cities is that correct? >> how are you engaging with municipal governments because that's a major factor of what the organization does? >> we started our work in nashville and at the time when we started the municipal government was not in a position to be joining with us to say they wanted to welcome immigrants because the climate was really bad and now the municipal government and the mayor other ands are very supportive and are creating policy changes and so when things started to change in nashville, we saw that if you changed the climate and then the municipal government could get involved and then they could create institutional change and we changed the model and we started as a network of 15 non-profits around the country that we're doing this work of changing the climate but then we realized that we could work with the municipal government to change policies on the local level and 15 months ago we started working with 48 municipal governments and 70
communities that are part of the america network. municipal governments work hand in hand with non-profit groups and business groups to develop a plan for immigration and imagine that planning for immigrants and planning to create a welcoming environment and figuring out what types of policies and what types of programs can exist to reduce the barriers that immigrants face to full integration and inclusion in a community. >> before i get to ana, i do want to ask a question about reaching communities that, you know, small meat packing, small towns in say, iowa, that are dealing with this immigration issue and it's stirring the very social fabric of those small towns. how do you plan to reach those communities? >> we consider ourselves sort of the johnny appleseed of welcoming in that we're not -- we're spreading quickly and we have a model that's not about us doing all the work, but providing tools and this is what we do now with nashville and this is what we do to help st.
louis and the mosaic process, for example. you provide tools and coaching and training and templates for communities to do and they lead it themselves. for st. louis, they found out about it after they already started doing this work. i hope they were happy to find out that there was national support for them. so we do a lot of outreach to big cities, to rural cities or towns. we have a lot of counties in our network. and you know, if you're a community -- you know, my wife comes from a rural community that's losing its population. and if you're losing your population, you're losing your tax base and you find out there's a way to change that and you could actually attract people to your community, really wanted to become actively involved in the economy and everything else, you might look up welcoming america. >> that's a story that's happening all across america in small towns with this immigration issue.
if we could move on to st. louis then, you know, there's -- i read that st. louis only that is 4.5% immigrants in the city,dy. >> that's an increase. >> right. that's a quarter of what it's like in other major metropolitan cities across the country. now there is the mosaic project which has been alluded to a couple times. could you explain the mosaic project and how your organization supports that? >> sure. and let me just say about the percentages, also. because what startles people so much is to think that st. louis in 1850 was the fourth-largest city in the united states and we were 50% immigrant at the time. we've gone from that in 150 years to 4.5%. what happened in 2012, several of us, three of us actually, were working in different directions trying to be able to figure out how to get a handle on how do we get the message out about the value of immigrants. we kind of got together and
realized that we were stronger as a group than we were individually. and we were able, through a local donor, to contract for an economic development study at that point. and what was wonderful about it it gave us the data. what we found were immigrants were 60% more likely to start a business in st. louis than a native-born individual. we found all kinds of interesting thing. the population loss was so dramatic. not just low foreign-born but our population loss was dramatic. so what happened was we were able to put all of this together and really engage public/private, the businesses, government, get the message out. and get people interested from the very beginning. and out of that, then, came something called the immigration innovation initiative which then grew into a year later the st. louis mosaic project. along the way we heard about welcoming america, got engaged with them and now work with them on several different levels, including the municipal
governments initiative. >> you mentioned this earlier about small business owners and immigrants. your organization, i read, gives $35,000 microloans to immigrant refugee entrepreneurs and you support other programs. >> up to $35,000, let's say. actually, we serve about 7,500 immigrants a year from 75 countries. it's a large group, when you figure 4.5% in the metro area. but really we focus, we've been around for nearly 100 years. we focus on our three pillars of service -- immersion, investment and inclusion. immersion is language and jobs. all of the things that are necessary. investment, how do we help them start a business and help their own families and get back to the economy. inclusion fits many of the i back to the economy. inclusion fits many of the v back to the economy. inclusion fits many of the e back
to the economy. inclusion fits many of the things we're talking about in terms of creating a welcoming community, connecting through a two-way street. >> we're not just talking about immigrants here. we're also talking about refugees which in many cities across the country are having tremendous difficulties in terms of aid and inclusion into a new society. i understand, though, that your group has helped start 600 refugee owned businesses -- >> since 1989. >> that's about $150 million in economic growth which is 9. >> that's about $150 million in economic growth which is 9. >> that's about $150 million in economic growth which is excellent. >> right. >> st. louis might be different than other towns across the country. can you talk about briefly the challenges that many of the refugees face? >> one of the things is just the fact that we have a larger immigrant population that is refugee versus the general population. as there is much in common among different cities where there are predominant language groups, et cetera, in the refugee populations, aside from the bosnians -- we do have the largest bosnian community in the united states. but then among the other groups we have dozens and dozens and loses of languages.
there is no cost efficiency to hiring a person to work the desk at a local grocery store or something that speaks a certain language because the person may not walk in that day that speaks the language. there are some difficulties because of the very diversity of the refugees that we serve that make it a bit of a challenge. what it does is it adds pressure very early on in many of the refugee communities to them being able to communicate at least at a minimal level in english because they don't have the reliance on being able to find native language speakers. >> before i ask you about the president's speech and recent congressional action, i do want to ask renada, you, about -- excuse me. i just lost my train of thought. oh. i wanted to ask you about 2009, the english only amendment that was struck down by nashvillians there seemed to be kind of a
collective effort. and that seems to have kind of started, you know a growth, a trend for you guys. can you please explain what happened in 2009 and why there was such vehement -- why they were against it so much? >> david, we're proud that he us a proud nashvillians. we were early on when there were no coalitions. there was a coalition of individuals that came together to start responding to some of the legislature that was responding to the demographic change in our state. and primarily the first symptom was the driver's license issue of the state level. that's what brought groups and individuals together that then led to formation of our organizations. in 2007, for the first time in nashville, that conversation took a very specific tone when one of our council members proposed this english only idea to the council that didn't go too far because the mayor vetoed
it without going out of the council. but then it was brought back to life in 2008 and this time in the form of a referendum to the general public of nashville. and that required a whole other set of skills the nonprofits engaged in the world but also the partners that we needed to bring to the conversation. and i think that the english only coalition that formed that brought together businesses, faith leaders, our chambers, the aclu and nonprofits like ours really was a great test for nashville. and if our mayor was speaking here earlier with the other mayors that just spoke, he would say that's one of his moments of pride as a mayor. because it was really a moment when nashvillians decided what not only where we're headed but what do we want to be, recognizing that the demographic change was going to continue to happen. we know that by 2040, 30% of our population will be hispanic. it was an important test.
nashville was the first city of its size to take a referendum of that kind to its voters. it took a lot of organizing and campaigning. it brought together a coalition for all of us and we were celebrating actually almost six years ago january 22nd when nashvillians went to the polls and defeated the english only referendum. unfortunately like many things we see now in local politics, it was also funded by external groups out off nashville. it was also an important question of where nashvillians stood in terms of what they wanted to find for their community and wanted to bring to nashville. it was a defining moment. you would hear the mayor, the chamber, leaders without the community, public investment projects public investment projects and say if english-only would have passed, nashville
probably would not have looked the way it does today. the continued economic progress we have done, the many accolades that nashville received would not be there. it was an important defining moment not only for the message that we sent to the world, it became a positive message. but also what we said as nashvillians for how we wanted to define the conversation moving forward. it was one of those moments where we said what really do we want to achieve. there are deliberate choices that we make. we're becoming diversity but we have to make deliberate choices to become truly inclusive. >> it was a great moment i know in both of our lives to see nashville as a city come together and say this is not who we are, as far as becoming the largest city in the country to pass this which unfortunately didn't come. i guess to say that something really -- i was talking before about cities being in the future.
nashville is ahead of its time. it's a city that has been previously in the civil rights movement, it's played that role before. basically, nashville because of the position it took, defeating english-only and because of the economic success it's seen since then, it's demonstrated that being welcoming gives us a competitive advantage over other southern cities from an economic standpoint. if a corporation is looking at moving to a city in the south, they're going to want to be somewhere where their international families are going to want to feel welcome, where their kids and spouses are going to feel welcome, where immigration programs exist so they can be successful. since then, after nashville atlanta joined our welcoming cities program and charlotte and a lot of other cities in the south. again, all over the country. there's a competitive dynamic in the country where cities see themselves having to be welcoming to stay ahead. that's, again, that's very different dialogue and conversation that you hear on a
national level. that's bubbling up from the local level. >> we have a minute left. i did want to ask your thought to go full circle. you introduced the president when he spoke about executive actions and then most recently house republicans voted to limit those executive actions. how did you react to that and what are you seeing them move forward. >> unquestionably, the step that the president took is the most important, the boldest step that we have taken in immigration policy in this policy in the last 25 years, even if it's temporary, it's an important step forward. i think we're disappointed that our congressional leaders are focused on politics and not policy and are still stubbornly not talking about the progress that the american people speaks about, right? so i think that we are encouraged of the conversation that the president has resumed with everybody in our
communities. we see it in the young people who are now seeing that path for maybe i have a chance to go to college, i can drive legally, i can get a job to save money to go to college. and i think that mayors and people in the community see that as a positive investment in our community. and i think that we are all eager to see this just taking the next step, which is congress giving us full comprehensive immigration reform. >> we're going to open up for questions but briefly your thought on this as well. >> i am inspired by nashville and hope that we will in st. louis in learn fact from some of the lessons that they have already faced and have so valiantly overcome. >> excellent. well, now we have a few minutes for questions and i would like to open it up to the audience. do we have any takers? >> i have a question. i can speak from here rather than jumping up there. it's for anna.
i think if people -- first of all, i work for the national institutes of health on social behavior but i don't want to represent them in my statement, obviously. but in the policies that you have there in st. louis, i can imagine that many people, other cities, citizens would be like shocked in awe, like we're giving people money, incentive to start their new life when there's such an atmosphere of resistance for them even being here. but the question is -- because i see it as a great thing, myself. but is -- is just -- just like we asked before. is there anything negative? is there a negative repercussion for giving people that need a start in this country -- before you answer that i would like to make a statement about the label "immigration." because it is such a -- it is such a negative label. but everybody here immigrated. so it's just, it's interesting that we just use that label.
i guess it's the newly part here. so these new neighbors that we have coming to st. louis, is there anything negative by giving them financial incentive to get established? >> well, let me first of all say that the financial incentives that particularly refugees have occur within a few months after they arrive, not years et cetera. and the lending, for instance, that we do in our microlending program, that's not free money. that's money that we get from the banks at prime or whatever the rate is and we lend it for 4.5% higher than we get it for. these are people who may not have credit history so far or collateral that allows them to go to a bank and get a traditional loan. they come to us for the first loan to be able to put together the business plan and get going. then once they were credit worthy, in fact we recommend that for their second loan they go to a bank. this is a way to help people start but it is not a handout in
any way, shape or form. many of the other programs that we're talking about -- entrepreneurship in fact st. louis arch grants, presents private money that's been raised in the community that's competitively given to individuals, both native-born and foreign-born depending on their start-up concept at that point. so in each of into es cases we're talking about either money that is out there in the community that they have to compete for or money that they're paying through the nose for, quite frankly, and the fact that we have an almost reverse of small business success rates which may be 25% failure after three years for our loans and nationally it is like 75% failure after three years, is a real tribute to the fact that these individuals can make things work with very little. >> absolutely. do we have another question in the audience? if not, i'd like to follow up then.
do you see similar things with the programs that you have at your organization in nashville? >> absolutely. i think that it's both not only good for those families when they're able to get the support to start a business, i think it is important for not just economic mobility that opt for that family to support that but it is also great for the local economy. i know that in nashville that part of that vibrancy is all those many small businesses. we're talking about micro entrepreneurs, five people or less less. when you also help a faq access a loan to become a homeowner what more stake do you take in the future of your family your neighborhood and your community when you're saying i am rooted here and this is my community
and this is where i want to see my children succeed and i am part of this and the house is the most important sort of symbol of claiming that root in your name with the home. so i think that anything that key can do to provide the tools and resources for people to achieve that progress is also progress for the community as a whole. >> yes. hi. my name's abigail goldenbasket. i'm with the aspen institute, new latinos in society program. one of the things we're trying to grapple with is how to share best practices and message that immigrants, immigration, latinos, latino growth are not necessarily a terrible thing but they bring lots of positive things with them. and you all have shared some of that, but i'd love to hear best practices. because there is a sense in the climate around the country of fear. so how do you combat this fear and what are some lessons learned that you guys have experienced that you might share
with the group and with us to take away. >> we should talk afterwards. you should come to our offices for a couple days. but, no, it is a really great point. again, it is that new gateway phenomenon. talking about the example of the refugee. you were talking about latino but also this perceptions that communities have. people think refugees get $10,000, they never have to pay it back and we did not get -- or immigrants get this that and the other thing. or why don't they just go to the post office so they can get their legal status. all these misperceptions. but our work is to not blame people for having this perception or call them names for having this perception but change their perceptions. and get them to meet immigrants. and that's been for us developing a receiving community strategy is what we call it. we're actually working with the white house and we work with
members of congress in the senate bill to develop a receiving communities aspect to the immigrant integration part of the bill. there's immigrant integration in part of the executive action that we are working to make sure there is a receiving communities element to educate the u.s.-born population about immigrants. but as far as best practices are concerned, there's a lot of communities where we've worked from michigan to lincoln nebraska where -- lincoln, nebraska for example we have on our website some examples of billboards they've put up in different communities that talk about just the values that people in nebraska -- they have a picture of a kid -- latino kid wearing a cornhuskers uniform with his dad playing football and talks about the values that they share. that's -- football in nebraska is like a religious thing. so it is like religionous values. but in general, whether it's sort of changing the messages people are hearing, through
different communications tools, or bringing people into direct contact through potluck dinners. or in atlanta part of the welcoming atlanta plan that the mayor signed on to and is pushing has dialogues happening in community centers between immigrants and u.s.-born folks. part of the mayor's community center program. then leadership. identifying people in communities, whether they're religious leaders or business leaders, but having leaders step up to talk about the contributions of immigrants to their own sector of the community because they're trusted spokes people. those three elements really make a difference. we've seen that strategy work in a lot of different communities and a lot of different contexts. >> i know we are running out of time but i want to mention to follow up. i think in our experience bun best practices and one that's often overlooked is the power of the arts and kwul turlcultural engagement in bringing people together. >> i just want to say the group
that's absolutely integral in this is to engage youth. when we look at social networking, at the way my children, grandchildren, et cetera, travel the world and engage, these are the next generation and these are the people who can help form the opinions of their parents and their grandparents. reform them. >> excellent. with that, thank you all very much. tonight on american history tv, in prime time a person of the year 1865 forum. starting off at 8:00 p.m. author elizabeth brown pryor on clara barton. at 8:45 a. wilson green makes the case for fon red cat general robert e. lee. then freed slaves, the result of frez lincoln's emancipation proclamation. also william cooper on the president of the confederacy,
jefferson davis, rounds out the person of the year nominees. all of this tonight on american history tv on c-span3. next, a forum on transportation and infrastructure funding with discussions on surface transportation legislation. the impact of transit systems on local economies, and an update from transportation department officials on rail and transit initiatives. speakers urge congress to pass a long-term transportation bill. the american public transportation association hosted the event in march. good morning after. how's everybody doing. had a great, great session already this morning. 7:30 this morning. who was all in there eating
breakfast? all right. all right. listen, welcome to act i've 40th annual legislative conference and to our nation's capital. yesterday was some great sessions. weren't they? with the mayor of washington, d.c. and various speakers. it was just wonderful. thanks everyone for being only people they think can lead here. the conference comes at a momentum time in the industry. this week we are gearing up for a new surface transportation bill out there. this opening session really sets the stage for our discussions over the next few days. in this session we'll hear from michael melaniphy, chairman and ceo.
we'll hear from janet kavinoky with the u.s. chamber of commerce, and also pete ruane with artba. first our sponsor this morning is route match. help me welcome joseph hughes from route match, vice president for business development, who will share a few comments on stage here. so, joe. [ applause ] >> thank you, phil. thank you, apta. again, my name is joe hughes. i'm vice president for really three parts of route match software. product management, our customer relations and business development. as a brief overview, quickly, route match provides software for public transit in both the rural and urban, small urban areas. we figure we've worked with many, many people in this room, phil to begin with, and many other agencies here in the office here are our partners. we every year come to this event because it, to me, is the epitome of the pure partnership. it's the most important event of
the year for transportation, and it represents a group of people that go off and do their own business separately, but here they're partners for the greater good of the overall. we're very excited to be a part of this. we would like to think that we can help in any way we can, but we hope to get to work with all you guys for the next two days and learn a little bit about where things are going, and hopefully make some impact for the greater good of the whole industry. so with that in mind, i have a couple things. one, don't forget while you're here that the purpose of this event, and it reads to direct the industry's advocacy efforts and legislative strategy. the key words i saw there were the advocacy, so everyone here is an advocate. and second is that you're doing it for the industry. and so please look out for your cohorts, your friends, the other guys who couldn't be here. don't forget the rural folks who don't get to come to these things as often, and make sure you remember that as a partnership that's the way we
believe it works and we would like to see that from everybody here. and finally, please participate if you haven't signed up for the stand up for transportation day on april 9. we think that will be a great thing coming out of here in terms of momentum. again, thank you, apta, thank you, phil, thank you, everybody, for being here. i do believe this is the most important event of the year. that's why we come to sponsor and look forward to seeing you guys in the next two days. thank you very much. [ applause ] >> thank you, joe. really appreciate your sponsorship of this opening session. before i get too far in the program, i want to recognize the apta executive committee, the board of directors and past apta chairs. if you're in that group, please stand up so we can give you a round of applause. [ applause ] >> thank you for all your work
and all your service. many of the leaders in this room -- i was -- let me say i was honored to share the apta strategic planning effort about a year ago or so. we got it approved by the full board of directors. this plan really sharpens our focus, guides our operation for the next five years. this is the cover of that document. i think the marketing folks did just a great job in putting this together. five significant challenges that we put forth, and we were calling these mega trends, sort of the environment that we believe that we will be working in for the next five to ten years. just very quickly, and you won't see them -- this is just the cover of the strategic plan itself, but safety and security was the first one. resource advocacy or funding. we've been talking about that all week. work force development,
demographic shifts and technological innovation. and so those five things we identified in our strategic plan as mega trends that we will be facing over the next five years. and i have to say, we've been having conversations about funding for quite a while. we've been talking about safety and security. we had a great session yesterday that i sat in on positive training control. all of these things, these five mega trends that i just laid out are so, so significant. so you'll see these off and on for the next year or so as we work on these issues and look to address these issues. you can go to the apta website. this document is on the apta website, and you can read it, support its objectives and help us address them. let me talk just a little bit
about funding, and i've been talking about this for the last six months or so. you've heard me talk about rebuilding our country's infrastructure. and this is one of the big reasons why we're here in washington at the legislative conference, to advocate for a long-term transportation bill. this is about building our own country. this is about nation building right here. this is about infrastructure investment and rebuilding our infrastructure in this country. and so i have called for this national day of advocacy, this stand up for transportation that you've heard about. and this is the logo that we've put together. and, you know, this april 9 date -- this is actually the last conference that we will have before that april 9th date. or is there another one? there may be another apta conference. no? all right.
so this is it. we are gearing up for this. the strategy is collective power as we bring attention to our infrastructure and talk to congress. on this day, april 9, we're looking to conduct media events, press events in as many american cities as possible. and i'm happy to say that i believe we have about 140 events or so. that is a lot of events all over this country. it's time for us to work together, republicans, democrats, at the white house, it's time for us to work together, as you know, to make sure that we address this what i call embarrassingly massive infrastructure deficit. the last time i looked, this infrastructure deficit was about $88, 9$90 billion.
that's just to maintain our current infrastructure. so it's time to fund that state of good repair, it's time to do all those things. as we move forward, and i always talk about the whole car analogy. it's almost like buying a car and not changing the oil for 10 years and expecting that car to continue to run. it's really ridiculous. i was at the board of directors meeting. i was talking a little bit about how ludicrous it is for us to have to beg for funding to maintain infrastructure. 10.8 billion trips last year, 10.8 billion trips were begging to maintain our infrastructure in this country. it's really a shame. i was talking about this at the board of directors meeting, and usually i get kind of worked up. i get pretty passionate about
this infrastructure thing, and i was talking at an event and i was getting pretty passionate, and i told myself to slow down or my taxes would be audited if i kept talking bad about our great leaders. but this stand up for transportation day is very, very important. so if you have not signed up, please do. i think we have a board out front and we will continue to do that. a couple of things, and i think -- i wanted to show -- i was at the transit ceos meeting, and i talked to the transit ceos about signing up. at that transit ceos meeting in phoenix, we had mayor stanton there. yeah, that's mayor stanton actually signing to have phoenix as a part of this stand up 4 transportation day. everyone has a vital role in
this. as i mentioned, 147 agencies and businesses from coast to coast have signed up. look at that map right there. now, if you're not on that map -- who is not on the map? you're not going to raise your hand. we've got to fill up this map. 147 agencies and businesses with over 100 events so far. so now is your chance. grab a pen, sign up. a few things that i would just mention in order to sign up for this first, is act now. the second is identify your partners. apta has a resource tool kit on the website where you can look, you can figure out who your partners are. we want to recruit all types of groups, bicyclist groups, environmentalists, seniors, veterans, students, people with disabilities.
we want to have, in your areas, in your local areas, we want to engage everyone in this stand up 4 transportation day. the third piece is planning your event. a ribbon cutting, a rally, an employee roundtable, turning your buses into billboards, sharing stats, and the fourth big piece is looking to apta for support. as i said, apta has a resource tool kit on the website providing messages, resources, you can customize it to your area, talking points, suggested talking points, all of these kinds of things. please do that. let me end my comments with something, another sort of priority of mine. we talk about the funding. i was talking about this yesterday in another meeting. we talk a lot about the funding,
but i like to talk about the career pathways and growing our own qualified work force. i was talking the other day about if the money begins to flow -- because i do think we're going to get a long-term transportation bill this year. i really believe that because i don't think that infrastructure apathy can last forever. and i don't think dysfunction at the highest levels can last forever in terms of infrastructure. so i do believe we're going to get a long-term bill. but what i talked about is if we get that long-term bill, and if money and manna falls from heaven tomorrow and we have a long-term transportation bill, will we have the qualified work force to build and rebuild this infrastructure in this country? and i'm not sure. i'm not sure that we have the track maintainers of the signal folks, even the run cutters. i'm not sure we have the qualified work force in this country to maintain our infrastructure. and so this idea of building career pathways for the hardest
to fill positions in this industry are very, very important. because we have to grow our own, and that includes in this career pathway community colleges, that includes trade schools, building this type of career pathway where we can grow our own. so when the money does flow, we will have a great pool of folks that are already trained to do this work that is much needed in this country, rebuilding bridges and highways and legacy systems and all of those things. so get on board. let's get started. and i hope to have 200 events by april 9, or on april 9, and i think we can do it.
with that, please help me welcome apta's president and ceo, michael melaniphy. please give him a hand. ♪ >> got to start out with some theme music in the morning. good morning, everyone. how we doing? didn't phil do a good job? give him a hand. phil washington, our chair. [ applause ] >> each year at this time we gather here in washington, d.c. to share the message of public transportation with our elected officials in congress to help them understand the important impact that we have on the vitality of this nation, and i am so thrilled to have all of you join us here today. your commitment to come here to the nation's capitol to share our story is so important. thank you for making that effort. opportunity, as we come here
together, is to meet with our colleagues, to share ideas, to share concepts, to influence decision makers. well, this year is more significant. this year is more pressing. mac 21 expires in a short 83 days. and the presidential election, that's only 610 days away. not that far at all. the good news is we have a great message to bring to the administration and to bring to congress. you know what it is? americans want more public transportation! and the numbers tell it all. it's extraordinary. look at the figures for 2014 hot off the press. last year there were 10.8 billion trips taken on public transportation! say it with me! 10.8 billion! it's outstanding. that is 101 million more trips that were taken last year. this, ladies and gentlemen, is the highest public
transportation ridership figure in 58 years! the last time ridership was this high, gasoline was 23 cents a gallon. isn't that extraordinary? the public revolution for public transportation is happening, it's happening now, and it's happening all across the country. this phenomenon isn't just in our largest cities, it's happening all across the nation in cities large and small. look at that, it's not just on the coast. some of the highest ridership happen in cities under 100,000. when you hear people ask, i'm in a small town, i'm in a rural area, why does this matter to me? the ridership increase in cities under 100,000 was actually double the national growth rate last year. this is extraordinary. there are great things happening. from san diego to nashville, from harrisburg, illinois to bowling green, from wanache, washington to new york city, people opted for public transportation in record
numbers. and riders are telling us they want more public transportation. and now you need to let congress know that we need to make the investment in public transportation to meet this growing need. it's incumbent upon all of us to educate our legislators. they need to know that this nation must have a robust, multimodal service transportation bill. we cannot continue to have short-term extensions. in the last 10 years, we've had 23 short-term extensions on the surface transportation bill. this is not how you bill the greatest country in the world. this is not how you lead a national economy. this is short-term thinking. this is not how our country works. we need a big, long-term, surface transportation bill. are you with me? absolutely. when do we need it? now. absolutely right.
now, one other reason we need it now is because there's a presidential election coming, and that is going to suck up all the oxygen in the room. we need to focus now. we need to make it happen now. you need to get up on the hill and make these things happen. how do we achieve our goals? as chairman of washington shared with all of us, advocacy and local education. sure, we could share the messages here in washington, d.c. you hire us to come up and see the experts. but you need to share that local message in your towns and your communities. it is so important. but when you go up on the hill the next couple of days, take this packet with you. it is loaded with information to help you educate our members of congress, to help them see the $10.8 billion that -- or 10.8 billion trips that we've got going on in this country. you need to show them how this investment is paying off in growing demand and how we need it to continue provide safe, dependable, reliable service
each and every day. congress doesn't need to go very far to see public infrastructure. look at the capitol dome. it's happening right where they work every day. now it's time for you to help share the message how we need to make investment in our infrastructure as well. when you're up on the hill, some may ask you, how should we pay for this robust transportation bill? certainly it's our job to explain surface transportation and why it's so vital to our nation's infrastructure and our nation's future. but congress, that's their job to find the resources. now, you may hear that policymakers are asking that we're going to tell you, hey, you should be grateful for the status quo. it's okay to just get what you get. you should be thankful for that. do you know what you need to say to them? good enough is not good enough. a short-term bill, that's not getting it. we need a long-term surface
transportation bill that is essential to operating a strong and a secure public transportation system across this nation. remember that you all in this room, you are the subject matter experts. if we aren't up there saying we need to make these investments, who will? don't be shy. don't hold back. let them know we need to make these investments. now, some people will suggest that the moneys that are going to transportation are a diversion of those highway dollars, that we need to get transit out. if we could just get rid of that, stop this diversion, then we could solve the nation's highway problems. don't you fall into that trap. you let them know that story is not correct. remind your legislators that in 1983, president ronald reagan put forth a program to raise the federal gas tax from 4 cents to 9 cents.
you know what he called it? a nickel for america. 4 cents for bridges, roads and highways, 1 cent for transit. that's the origin of the 80/20 split. the dollars that go to transit in the highway trust fund and the mass transit account have always been there for transit. they've never been a diversion. set the record straight. it's about a system working together. we're here to defend the system to make sure the system works well together. we've had a very long partnership. partnerships are what makes this program work. partnerships between passengers, state, local and federal governments. that's what makes our nation so great and makes our transportation systems work so well. let us not forget, it is an interdependent system. our buses and trains take cars off the roadways so we can have the free flow of goods, products, commerce and services throughout our roads and networks. it all works together as a
system. so removing us from the highway trust fund, well, that's a bit like, i don't know, removing the steering wheel from a bus. it doesn't make any sense. it all has to work together. now, d.o.t., they have their own bill, a robust, six-year multi-modal bill. they call it the growing america act. it's true, we may not agree with every single subpart or section of it, i have to tell you this bill does a great job of telling congress that we need to move in the right direction and that this stuff matters. but we can't do it alone. we have to work together. we're very pleased that joining us at the conference today will be fta acting administrator teresa miller, and joining her will be acting administrator sarah feinberg. they will be acting on proposals and taking your questions from the audience. we're also thrilled that joining us here on the stage will be two great leaders in the transportation field that work
tirelessly here in washington, d.c. when you see me testify up on capitol hill, there is very often two people standing right there next to me, janet kavinoky and dr. pete ruane. great transportation leaders. they're going to help tell the story about how we have to work together to move the ball forward. now, passage of a surface transportation bill, it's a lengthy process. the first stage, we passed that in december of 2013. we gathered the information, we gathered the needs, we put the data together, and we brought it to the hill and we brought it to our partners so we could all see together what those needs were. now we're in the second stage of that process when different ideas are put together that start to coalesce into what will become a bill. there are lots of different bills out there, lots of different ideas. do not be distracted by the shiny things in the water.
stay focused on our mission, stay focused on our message as we shepherd through the next stage an actual transportation bill. we should be bold in our approach because we know the needs are real. we know that demands from the public are real, we know that the infrastructure investment needs are real. and we know that we have been able to functionally, fully demonstrate public transportation has a significant, financial impact on this nation's economy. in fact, for every dollar invested in public transportation, the economic return is four times that, $4 of economic return for each $1 invested in public transportation. it's not just about that economic return, it's about jobs, it's about getting americans to work. there are nearly 50,000 jobs created or sustained for each $1 billion investment of federal dollars into the public
transportation system. this is a huge return. but even more importantly, the federal government doesn't build our rolling stock, they don't build our buses, trains and transit shelters. the private sector does that, the consultants, the oems, they make this business happen. those federal dollars, those government dollars that come through to our industry, most of those are capital dollars. did you know that fully 73% of the government dollars that come into transit flow right through to the private sector? they're creating jobs all across the nation. good, high-paying, high-quality jobs. be sure to share that jobs story with the policymakers up on the hill. tell them how they're creating jobs and opportunities to get the jobs in cities large and small, urban and rural all across our nation. but with a job, it doesn't end there. you're going to do a great job on the hill the next couple days, i know you are. you're going to storm that hill.
when you go back to your communities, that's when the real work happens. that's when you bring your members of congress and elected officials to your properties, to your companies. show them, don't just tell them, where the federal dollars are going. let them see and touch and feel your trains, your buses, your transit shelters, your factories, your offices, your job sites. let them meet your drivers, your mechanics, your dispatchers, your drivers, your engineers, your field workers. let them understand where these federal dollars are going, that we are creating great public transportation options for people in all 435 congressional districts, all 50 states in this nation. help them understand the perspective of where these federal dollars are going so that when they are in their town, when they're driving to the next rotary club or other event, they can point to that train, that shelter, that station and say there's federal dollars at work there and i'm proud to see them enhancing that ability in my community. and they can see that it's all
part of a system. and you all make that happen. you convey that message. so as we finish up our meetings this morning, as you all take to the hill, as you hear from administration and members of congress and our partners up here, take these messages, take them to the hill, share the story that we need well-funded, long-term surface transportation bill. we need it for our industry. and ladies and gentlemen, we need it for america. thank you very much. >> thank you, michael. very insightful remarks. thank you for your strong leadership, your dedication to the industry. now it's my pleasure to introduce our featured speakers. first up is janet kavinoky -- i probably already chopped up your name again.
janet. janet. a nationally recognized expert in transportation policy funding and finance with the u.s. chamber of commerce. janet wears several hats at the chamber. she's the chamber's executive director of transportation and infrastructure and she is vice president of this america's for transportation mobility coalition. she also leads the chamber's let's rebuild america initiative. help me welcome her to the stage. janet, please. [ applause ] >> thank you, phil. and thank you, michael, for having me here today. wow, what an energetic opening. i have not been to a conference that started out with this much energy in the morning maybe ever. i don't know what you guys were doing at 7:30, i don't know what they put in your coffee, but that's pretty terrific. and i'm so pleased to be here
again at apta. you're going to hear repeatedly, if you haven't already, it's important for you to be here. how many of you have heard that it's important to be here? this is a test, by the way, because you just heard it. if you don't raise your hands, i'm afraid you're asleep. all right, how many of you believe that? okay. well, thank god, i don't have to convince you of that, because there is new staff on the hill. you know, some of the people you're going to go talk to you've talked to for years and they're going to say, it was great to see you again but i already know your story. for some of you you're walking into offices when you go up the hill with new staff. it's a 23-year-old that's looking at you going, transit. what's transit? i thought they only had that here in washington, d.c. you've got to tell them your story and why it's important for your community. how many of you have an office
representative who is newly elected? these people do not know anything about what you do. i'm going to put money on that. so you have a chance to go in, and it's not just about, you know, talking about a little bit what's going on in your town and why this is important, you can't kind of sit there like this, you've got to explain to them how you fit in, how transit fits into your economy, how it fits into your transportation system, how it creates jobs, how it sustains employment, but most importantly, how important the federal government is to that. how important federal investment is to that. because there is a lot of noise on capitol hill today. you know, we transportation people, we tend to think that we're unique and we're special. we're like, we're transportation, we got a trust fund, this is all good. except that for the last 10 years or so, well, it hasn't been quite all that good. and now when you go to capitol
hill, you know, it took the senate six weeks to pass a department of homeland security bill, the senate and the house. just an appropriations bill, by the way, nothing complicated, just an appropriations bill for the department of homeland security. the senate spent three weeks debating the keystone pipeline. we've kind of done that one before. i don't know if you're familiar with that, but yeah, we've been there, we've done the keystone thing before. the president vetoed it, will probably have a veto override, but the senate took three weeks to do that. they've got a debt ceiling debate coming up. they need to pass a budget between now and, i don't know, may 31st. in june the export/import bank, that's going to expire again. we have a medicare problem coming up in a few weeks. there is a lot of noise on capitol hill. so you being here helps cut through that noise.
because you're a person from their district, from their state representing employees. you're buying things out of the supply chain. you can say, yep, i'm buying buses, i'm buying rail cars. you're putting a face on it. you might have 10 minutes standing in a hallway with a 23-year-old who doesn't know anything about transportation. you might have a half an hour with a member of congress, but this is your chance. here's why it's really important. transit is under attack in washington. i cannot open a newspaper during a week when i don't see an article, when i don't see an op-ed that's been placed by the heritage foundation -- i know it's heritage foundation because i've seen their stuff -- that says transit is a waste of money out of the highway trust fund, and that if we just fixed that little problem, we took that waste out, we would solve all of the transportation funding problems, because roads are all that really matter and they're all that are really federal.
we're here today -- can i use a bad word? you're here today to call bullshit on that, people. you're here today to say i don't care if carly fiorina signed an op-ed in the "wall street journal," or if one got placed that's almost identical in the "los angeles times" that says transit is a waste of money. you're looking those congress in the eye, you're looking at that staff and you say, you tell me this is a waste of money. you talk about the people riding your buses or riding your trains and you challenge them. because it's real easy for them to say in meetings on capitol hill -- you know, they get together, they talk to each other. by the way, these are people the u.s. chamber helped put in office, so when i get fired, michael, my resume is coming to you. mort, i am definitely not sending you my resume. thank god i'm not qualified to work at metro whatsoever. and they sit around, they're like, hey, this is really easy.
we need another 10 billion mr., $15 billion. we're just going to dump out transit. that's easy for them to say to each other, but it's going to be real hard when you're in their offices. you're going to hear them say, well, the market ought to decide. transit is really local. private sector will build it or the local folks should pay for it. i was in south carolina doing a presentation at the south carolina chamber of commerce infrastructure day. anybody here from south carolina? okay, in the back, thank you very much. you had a congressman there who actually for the most part said a lot of the right things including we ought to raise the gas tax. i later heard he got some phone calls about that. but i compliment tom rice for saying, you know, what we probably ought to do is raise the gas tax. then rice put up a chart and he showed, well, south carolina, we don't get any real transit money back, and if we just got rid of transit, then we could fix the highway problem. to which i replied, thanks to brian tynan's quick research to
me as i'm typing on my phone, south carolina, 47% of your resources in south carolina for transitcom from the federal government. so don't tell me it doesn't matter. don't tell me it is a small amount. that's a pretty big deal and that's in south carolina. then he said, well, you know, we give all of this money to washington, and it only goes to, like, two transit systems in los angeles and new york. really? so you get to go up to capitol hill today and explain to them, look, it's not all local. this is about the economy. you get to tell them, look, we've been investing in transit for years. this isn't all about the market should decide. again, i'll mention i do work for the u.s. chamber of commerce. i get to say all of the fun stuff. and this isn't waste. this is about investment, and it's about a complete system. so you're important today on
capitol hill because you are going to go up there and you're going to take on those people who are saying, transit doesn't need to be a part of this. you're going to take them on directly, and do not let them off the hook. do not let them tell you, i'm not on the committee of jurisdiction, i don't have anything i can do about it. that's crap. they can call their leadership, they can show up on their monday or tuesday leadership meetings and they can say, these transportation people are wearing me out. we've got to make sure we do a bill. because you know how things get prioritized in the united states house and the united states senate? when members come back from recess and the house is on recess this week, when members come back, they tell their leadership who has been beating them up, and that helps determine the priority list. you know how resources get managed in the united states senate? when they realize if we don't get something on the floor and get it done, our members are going to get beat up at home.
so it's time not to let them off the hook. i'm going to give you one other thing to think about, and that's, you're all in this together. we're all in this together. that's, you're all in this together. we're all in this together. the u.s. chamber of commerce, the american road and transportation builders association, the americans for transportation mobility coalition which apta has supported for years, which artba helped to start. we're all in this together, but for you in transit, you are all in this together. if you go to the hill and it becomes bus versus light rail or people drag you into conversations, well, i don't know why you're doing a street car, you ought to do this instead. or if it becomes big transit systems versus small transit systems, that's just the kind of division that congress needs, it's just the excuse they need to say, well, there is no unity there, we can get rid of those guys. you have to go with a unified voice today. you have to be representing transit, you have to be
representing transportation, passing a long-term transportation bill. don't let them drag you into a conversation about whether what part of transit is better than the other, should we be using buses? should we be using light rail? i hate that d.c. street car. forget that. that's not what this conversation is about. this conversation is about we need a long-term, fully funded transportation bill that supports growth, that supports investment, that supports jobs. just like michael said, we need it now. we're going to be standing up with you for transportation on april 9th. what perfect timing, phil. you know, april 9th is the very end of the easter recess, or as they call it, district work period. so for the 10 days before that, because that recess starts on march 30th, you can be taking people out and showing them projects, showing them where federal investment happens, you
can show how you're partnering with d.o.t.s. you can show how transit is impacting your business community. and then, on april 9th, just in case any of you hadn't really thought about what you were going to talk about, on april 9th, what a great story you have for the media in your area. what a great op-ed you have to place or a blog post or, shoot, a whole set of tweets. because you can talk about what you've been doing for the last 10 days, showing your members of congress and your delegations, showing your communities what transportation is about, why transit matters, why we need to fully fund a transportation bill. if any of you can't pick up the phone and call your state or local chamber of commerce, you need help with that, let me know. michael has got my cell phone number. shoot, i'll give you my cell phone number if you really want it right now, but it might just be easier if michael gave it to you later. we will make that happen. phil, that is just a tremendous opportunity for all of us to stand up together for
transportation, and i'm proud to stand here with you today. so thank you all very much. [ applause ] >> thank you, janet. she's fantastic, isn't she? she really is. [ applause ] >> now we'll hear from peter ruane, president and corporate executive officer with the american road and transportation builders association. pete has 40 years of experience in the economic development, transportation, construction, and national defense, and i heard you were a marine as well. i'm army, but, you know. all right. all one service. he's the vice president of the chamber's america's for transportation mobility coalition. he previously was a deputy
director of the office of economic adjustment and the office of the secretary of defense, and he was on the president's economic adjustment committee. please welcome peter ruane. [ applause ] >> morning. i'm glad i got here early to hear the comments of phil and michael and janet. i have only one response. hoo-rah! i picked up a great idea on how to fund our problems on the way in here. anybody valet park? $42? holy moses. so you tell the members of congress they all are to valet park at this hotel every day of the week they're in town --
that's only three -- and we'll get 10% of that for the rest of the year to fund at least the transit program, if not the whole bloody thing. yikes. well, michael, i heard you twice this morning on wtop. for those of you who don't know about that, that's the leading radio station here. it also has the leading traffic reports every morning. you didn't tell me that truck was broken down on 295! i would have been here on time. good message, two separate messages, by the way. well done, as always. okay, folks. don't have much time and you're on your way -- we're going to hear some other speakers first, but i hope all of you know there is a t in our name, and our members design all modes of transportation, improvements,
capital transit projects, in fact, that's a major market for members, and that t has been there nearly 40 years now. we're about -- what is it, 113, 114 years old? that's a pretty long time. we're very pleased, and janet made reference to this. recently, michael and i co-signed a letter to the wall street journal which got published, and believe me, to get that published responding to the wannabe presidential candidate carly. carly, carly. that was a lot of fun, and of course we did some public opinion surveys at the end of last year together. and over the years, i think many of you know this, we've had a number of joint advertising programs together in our lobbying efforts and past legislation, and, of course, as
phil and michael both referenced, and janet as well, we've been partners on various coalitions for many, many years. so i feel very comfortable here, i feel very much at home. i know there is still some out there that like to divide us and think we only represent the highway industry. that's a crock. we represent the transportation construction industry. generically, our members build all the airports, they design them all, all the rail, all the ports, all the high speed, what little there is, and of course, the highways and transit and bridges of this nation. so working together, i mean, it can't be overstated. it's been said already, but i'm going to say it again. the importance of us working together in these coming days and months.
now, you know that we have upon us, janet mentioned this very well, the club for growth and heritage, i call them out. i'm not afraid to mention who they are. they have informed a lot of people with bad information, and they're out there trying to divide us, they're out there putting bum information in the mainstream, in the media, to the public. and, frankly, most of what they put out there is mythological, it's not fact based, and, you know, those two groups have one thing in common. they're both wrong. they're both wrong. zero sum game is a metaphor we all like to use. we're not going to get trapped in that.
we're here to advance the cause of transportation because, frankly, there's a chronic underinvestment in all modes of transportation in this country. so we're not going to get trapped in a food fight. we're not going to do that for sure. that's happened a few times in the past. in fact, i remember when i joined arthur in the last century, that's exactly the way it was by the way, some of you remember that. we were the highway community. apta was the transit community. never shall they meet. what a crime. that was sad. that was very sad. that has not been the case in recent years. so the vast majority of congress, you already know this. they do recognize, finally, what we're facing. the facts, not the myths, that have been adequately conveyed by all of us, over the years, over
the months, over recent days so none of them, none of them can say they don't know the truth. they may refer to the latest ad or radio ad that they've heard. the crime, the crime and need to invest, but folks, the facts are out there. that's one of the good news things. now the last eight years, the last eight years of uncertainty have clearly led to some bad decisions around the country, a lot of spaces held up their investments because they don't -- they can't count on the federal government's partnership. we've essentially had a frozen program in recent years. in fact, we've had major cuts no one wants to talk about. but we've taken nearly a $3 billion cut in the overall
highway program for sure in recent years, so, i'm here not to talk about negative things but to talk about positive things. i said the truth is out there. people know the facts. and more important than that, more important than that, after this eight-year period of uncertainty, of indecision, of putting things off, i do believe, bill made this comment in his opening remarks, i also believe that we're going to get a long-term piece of legislation this year. now i'm among the minority. see janet and others nodding their heads. there are a few of us here who believe that. a lot of our colleagues don't. they don't. a lot of our members don't. a lot of our member companies do not believe we're going to get a long-term piece of legislation this year. you know what they're doing as a result?
they're laying back. some are laying off. and that has caused serious problems in the economy, and that uncertainty, and i'm not going to, you know, give you the latest on this but we monitor this very closely. you're well aware of some of the major states, that already announced their cutting back. and here we are, march, we got to the end of may, to deal with the extension. but most importantly we still don't know what the solution to the highway trust fund problem is. besides the valet parking approach that i mentioned. but look. they know what they have to do. both sides of the aisle know what they have to do. we think that they will have the courage this time to do the right thing.
we're very encouraged. particularly on some, i won't call them jailhouse conversions. they might be. but we had some conversions of longtime resisters, longtime opponents of doing the right thing. they're now prepared to do the right thing. so we're going to roll out something here in a few days that will add to what's being discussed at the moment. nothing incredibly novel. in some regards, simply a reiteration of past proposals. dressed up a little bit. garnished with new information, new facts, and aimed at getting this debate off of a dime. off its rear end. and you're going to be surprised
at the bipartisan support. you're going to run into this week. i mean maybe not surprised. but maybe shocked. some of you are probably shocked. and i think it's real. i think you're going to see a very serious attempt to finally deal with this in the coming weeks. now we could talk about very specific things and i'm not sure you want to do that. but a couple of things have happened recently, that's why we have this positive outlook. we're naturally optimistic, sometimes people think we're foolish. but we're not members of the surrender brigade in this town. and it's a pretty big brigade. pretty big brigade. but they don't want to face the tough political opposition that's still out there but you
know just last week, just last week, 285 members of the house, 285, at 412, 415, whatever the number is, 435, it's a majority! on both sides of the aisle. trying to say hey, let's get it done, let's resolve this problem, let's get it done. we've also seen, right after the elections, in fact, last november the new senate majority leader on national tv said there's only two things we want to deal with right away, tax reform, and taking care of the transportation trust fund issue. and so, don't tell me there isn't support out there. there is real world support. it's up to us, it's up to us to close the deal.
so where are we? people love to ask that question. you know, where are we? where are we? i don't know. where are you standing? you're right there! you know i love to say, you know, one of the old marine sayings, one hair short of ugly. you know what that means? one hair short of ugly, well it is ugly. and it's going to get uglier come the end of may. so the timing is perfect. you couldn't have scheduled this at a better time. your april events, we also have a transportation, coalition coming in after easter, with all of our gifts from that holiday, and we're going to be storming the hill, as well.
so we're going to have a wave, a wave of industry representatives carrying a message, and trying to get congress to do the right thing. but, you know, we could talk all day about specific solutions, but the bottom line is this. this whole issue, forget about all the ways to divide the pie. it's a political problem. it's a political problem. how do you solve political problems? you solve them politically. they're not going to listen otherwise. we've had facts, commissions, studies, research, up the ying yank for years, decades, centuries. this is a fact free zone. you solve this politically and
that's why you're here. it's been well side, bill, michael teed this up perfectly. janet added the icing on the cake. you got to tell your story. you got to tell the specific facts, and you got to say, folks, you don't do the right thing, there will be consequences. political consequences. now a lot of people don't like to do that. you know we tell our members you got to talk to them back home, you got to get in their face. you got to tell them your story. but what good is all that? today, they know most of that, and that's very different than in the past. you now have to add that final sentence, we are keeping score. we're paying attention. we're not stupid. we're not naive.
you are here to sent -- you were sent here to do a job. and guess what? it's a very tough job. with all respect. it is a very tough job. that our elected representatives have. but they wanted it. they knew that ahead of time. we didn't force them to come here. i don't see these guys and gals up there in chains. they're here on purpose. and that is to solve our nation's problems. to deal with our nation's challenges in the future. that's why they're here. reap keep reminding them of that. so how are we going to do it? well, we've got to change the keep reminding them of that. so how are we going to do it? well, we've got to change the debate. the debate is, you know, as i said, i think there's clarity in most quarters now.
but you know you got to remove, you got to remove the bubble wrap around these discussions. if i get bruised, i might get hurt. baloney. take it away. and say, these are the hard facts. these are the hard facts, and if you ignore them, there will be consequences. we keep score. we're not up here on some band trip. not up here to go out and get ripped off. we're here to do a job. so it's no time for subtle no time for subtleties. and as janet said, when you -- if you think you're talking to daffy duck up there, you know, hey, be patient. be patient, because remember what is the key after these meetings? follow up.
you got to follow up with everybody you met with, everybody you talked to, and you follow up back home. you go back and visit their local offices, a just went to d.c., i saw senator upy up, he said such and such, she said such and such, i want you to know that and by the way when they come back here during the recess, lots of them coming up, i want to see the end, i want to take them out to my job site as janet mentioned, et cetera, et cetera. also in terms of avoiding the subtleties, don't -- you're going to hear ideas that, you know, we had this, i guess my -- i don't know. i was in annapolis yesterday. we don't, you know, for the
saint patty's day parade. i live in annapolis. the new governor was leading the parade. and i'm there with six of my nine grandchildren. of course i've got a beer. so the governor comes up, he's got a green thing on, and i say governor, you going to build the purple line, right? he said, i'm in favor of the green line. i'm in favor of the green line. so i'm serious. we did intervene on that project as some of you know. we don't normally do that. in fact i just sent a nice valentine's letter to governor cuomo last week about the situation in new york. i'm sure we got plenty of folks here in new york. we don't normally do that, either. but both of those situations had national implications far beyond their respective states, because if they don't invest here, we don't invest in this state, it affects all the adjacent states, it affects the whole bloody country.
i got to tell you, my 5-year-old grandson pulls me over and says pop, how come he didn't give us any candy? he didn't give us any necklaces. i said, peter, that was bad. they give you candy after they give them candy. he looked. okay. so you're going to hear some of what i call jedi mind, i won't say the next word, crap. in terms of how they're going to solve the problem. there's an elementary basic known way to deal with this. what's it called? raise the bloody user fee. raise the bloody user fee.
have the political courage to do this. it's right in front of you. it's the most proven, the most efficient way to get it done. do it! do it. hoorah. [ applause ] >> give all three of our speakers a great hand. [ applause ] now bear with me we're going to do a photo-op. i'm going to ask the speakers to come back up, and guess what? we got the t-shirt. and the bag of chips. come on up, please. no, we don't have a bag of chips. i was just joking.
this proud today. and you're not going to be disappointed. good morning, i'm mike allegra the president and ceo of the utah transit authority, and i'm honored to be able to host this panel today with three great mayors from three incredible cities. i've been in the business a long time, four decades, i started my career here in virginia. and i appreciate the fact that c-span is here to, frankly, help spread the dialogue about investment in transportation. you know, in utah we have benefited significantly by our partnerships for the federal agencies. our first full funding grant came to us in 1997. subsequently to that, we've gotten six full funding grants have built 140 miles of rails in 14 years, perhaps the quickest in this nation, and we are benefiting significantly by that investment. a decade or so ago, our community, state, local governments and partnerships with the federal agencies decided and made a commitment to invest their tax resources in transportation, highways and transit. we now are one of the best economic states in the country.
i will tell you that no one, no elected official, have lost their job because of that commitment that they made a decade ago. in fact, our governor is now the chairman of the national association of governors. our state senate chairman of the national league of legislators. our chamber of commerce lane beatty has become on the national board of the chamber of commerce. and our mayor of salt lake city is now the president and the national league of cities. and so, we are looked at, i believe, as a state that is well run, knows how to get things done, but recognizes that investment in infrastructure are one of the key pillars to economic growth and vitality. so we're here today with three incredible mayors that are going to talk to you about their stories.
but before i do that, i wanted to read the president of the united states, i've been told, is competing with us today, because he's at the national league of cities. so i very much appreciate these mayors being here, but i have a statement i want to read to you from mayor ralph becker who is the president of the league of cities. and he says, quote, national league of cities and the american public transit association have enjoyed a close working relationship for many decades. the results of which have been tremendous transit progress for those cities we serve. our great transit accomplishments in the salt lake region is an important example of the benefit of this collaboration. as the nlc president and mayor of salt lake i look forward to continuing to work with apta forwards a long-term, well funded, transportation reauthorization this year. the president's proposed grow
america act is an important contribution to this must-do reauthorization effort. so with that, those who participated yesterday in the legislative conference heard from a gentleman who represents america's infrastructure alliance. he made three key points that will be the focus of today's conversation. number one, make it local. okay. you have local here. number two, talk about economic benefits and commerce. talk about how transportation does what it's done in utah. talk about how it will affect your community, and lastly, perhaps most importantly, investment saves money. now is the time to make an investment, because it will pay dividends in the future. you won't be borrowing. it will cost you less.
and i think the mayor will talk about that as we do some local efforts in that record. you're hearing from three, strong, conservative, fiscally responsible, energetic, motivated, fast-growing communities. each of which have a passion for transportation and transit. these mayors have a vitality of their own, and they are developing a sense of place in a community like no others. i like to say that the cities that are surrounding them, salt lake and dallas, and phoenix are suburbs to their cities there. so, let me have you buckle up your seat belts because you're in for a ride here. i'm going to introduce the three mayors in the order that they're going to speak, and then pose three main topics today. first off i want to hear and have them share with you stories about their city and what their vision is. second, they're going to drill
down a little bit and talk about transportation, and their transit projects and what they see as benefits to the community, what their future for transportation are, and then lastly we're going to zero in on the partnerships with federal agencies and things that we can do to the, and perhaps offer some recommendations to apta for things we can do to be great partners with local government. so the first mayor to my left here, on your right, is -- excuse me, mayor betsy price. she is the mayor of fort worth, texas, it's the 16th largest city in the united states. established in 1849, i think, mayor? was an american outpost as part of the mexican-american war. but what i found interesting in looking it up online is there were three transformational times in fort worth's history. number one, they were part of the chisolm trail, the cattle drive. and initially established fort worth.
then they became the crossroads of the texas and pacific railway. the second major boone to that city. and then in the early 1900s, they had close to 400 miles of street cars in the dallas-ft. worth area. huge, huge investment in street cars. so i think we're going to hear from the mayor today as a mover and shaker. she was elected in 2001, the 44th mayor of this city. she leads efforts in engaging and designing a healthy community. she talks a lot about alternative modes of transportation, particularly walking and cycling, and maybe she'll talk to you about her walking and rolling town hall. she's an avid cyclist. yet she gets time to spend with her family, her husband, her children, and her three grandchildren, and apparently she's a proud maverick with a bachelor's degree from the university of texas at arlington. mayor john giles from mesa, arizona.
i looked up on wikipedia what a wonderful thing. they call mesa, arizona the center of population for arizona. mayor. >> center of the universe. >> center of the universe, i'm sorry. >> don't call us short. -- sell us short. >> third largest city in arizona, the 3th largest city in the united states, and its history actually goes back 2,000 years ago, maybe we'll hear about this, they developed canals in those communities, another form of transportation. mayor giles is the 40th mayor of mesa. he started his mayoralship in 2014 but he's had a long history with governance being on the city council, and in many, many organizations, boards and committees. he has a policy sky degree from byu, brigham young university so he's a cougar. he has a law degree from arizona
state, and has managed and practiced and manages a law office of his own. and born and raised in mesa. he's a marathoner. he's a triathlete. he has finished two full ironmans. and this year, he finished his 20th marathon and his fourth boston marathon. so i think, and i hope, we can keep up with him. lastly and not least the mayor of riverton city, utah. from my community, mayor applegarth served as the mayor, he's been there since 2006. this year they're celebrating their 150th birthday. it is a high energy, high growth community. the population has exploded. he'll tell you about that. it was listed by cnn as one of the top places to live in the
united states. it also has a rich transit history in 1913 and has the salt lake and utah railways and urban life that went right through its community there. so mayor applegarth has been on city council, he's worked as an educator, he has a law degree, excuse me a doctorate from byu, is a cougar, as well, and he spent his entire career in the educational system. he does have eight children, and 30 grandchildren. and he is a leader in our community. he is on virtually every transportation community. our relationship with the transit organization and the npo, the best i know of in the country and kudos to mayor applegarth and the things that he does there. so with that i'm going to ask the mayors to talk a little bit about their cities, and what
they're doing so they can paint the picture for you of what's going on in their cities and then we'll move on to even more transportation agenda. so we can start with either one of you. >> hopefully our mics weren't up. we've been up here talking. i've been caught doing that. we're not capital steps, although mayor giles said he would tap dance for you. in addition to running marathons he's a tap dancer. and i guess we'll hum behind him, right? i understand that you're coming to cow town to fort worth in may and i hope each and every one of you in this room will come. you're absolutely going to love it. we are the 16th -- actually the 17th largest city now. we got beat out by 105 people in charlotte in the midterm count. i think that's a statistical error. but we're one of the fastest growing cities in the nation, since the year 2000.
about 1,000 people a day come to texas, and about 350 of those people land in dallas or fort worth. so we are huge. we're 800,000 citizens now, and in the next ten years we'll be more than 1 million citizens. and you know, we always say, we're a big, spread-out city. fort worth is 3 52 square miles and 344 square miles so ultimately we'll be a big, big land mass. and texas her taj, as you know all, we're obviously behind on mass transit, because we love our suburbans and we love our pickups and we're just now getting people to really think about public transit. we've always had it there. it's always served the working class. you mention street cars. believe it or not we used to have the largest line of street cars, dallas and fort worth. bee don't have a single street car any longer. so we really poured a lot of
concrete. but we all know as leaders, we know that you're never going to pour enough concrete to accommodate the growth. you're simply not. and our young leaders, our young millennials who are moving there for the high tech jobs, for the defense industry jobs, aviation, tourism, all really want one car. and we're seeing them move back in the inner city, as well as our suburb cities, but we have to rebuild those inner cities and keep them strong. and transit is a way. they want to be able to leave one car in their garage and not take it out, to take a circulator bus or to take a bus to the intermodal and really get around, and then they want that last mile to be a connection on bicycles. and we've really got a strong museum district. we have 65 million tourists last year in tarrant county. we've redone our convention center and about to redo it again. part of that is development from
our transit system. our intermodal that went in made a big difference on what we have done. but we are the -- fort worth together, gary thomas is here from dart somewhere, even though he like to talk about our friends at dart we really are a huge region and like many of you in this room we tend to not be able to separate dallas from north worth. once you come you're going to be able to separate them easily and you're only going to come back to fort worth. because we are not the center of the universe. but we have in the last two years and for the next three years we'll have $34 billion of infrastructure construction going on. we say everybody in fort worth has got orange cone syndrome. they hate us. they're sick of it. they're just sick of it. but we've got to get our public transit better. we've got to get it for the millennials coming in. and more importantly than the millennials the silver tsunami is here.