tv Public Transportation Conference Opening Session CSPAN April 3, 2015 12:43pm-1:47pm EDT
k 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 apta. 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, $90 billion. 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 4 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 sort of a priority of mine. we were talking 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. [ applause ] ♪ >> 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 big 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 bill called 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 theresa mcmillan and joining her will be acting administrator
director 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 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 as 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 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. [ applause ] >> 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 a huh? ly newly elected or freshman senator you're going to see today? 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, 5@,w 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 one 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, $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 for the most part said all the right things, including we ought to raise the gas tax. i hear 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 for transit come from the federal government, so don't tell me it doesn't matter, don't tell me it's 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. 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 bucks?
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, transit capital 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 arpa 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 states have 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, phil 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 they're 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.sváfñ 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.)ç[: 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 yang 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 said, phil 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. keep reminded 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 decency. 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 upty 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 and go into 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. and my wife. and of course i'm drinking lots of beer. so the governor comes up, he's 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 you gave 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. or-rah! >> give all three of our speakers a great hand. 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'll give each of you one. >> thank you. where's the candy? >> there we go. what we're going to do -- >> stand up. >> stand up! >> stand up. [ applause ] >> stand up! ♪ >> okay. we'll hear more about transportation infrastructure in our next session. we've got the mayors transit roundtable starting promptly at 10:30 right back in this room. we are adjourned. thank you for coming.
♪ good morning, everybody. hello! welcome! great to see you. i feel an air of enthusiasm in this crowd today. and you're not going to be disappointed. good morning. i'm michael allegra the president and ceo of the utah transit authority. 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 for a long time. i started my career here in virginia. i appreciate the fact that c-span is here to frankly help spread the dialogue about investments in transportation.
you know, in utah we have benefited significantly by our partnerships for the federal agencies. our first full funding grant agreement 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, o