tv Public Transportation Conference Opening Session CSPAN March 14, 2015 10:00am-11:06am EDT
at a great, great session already this morning, 7:30 a.m. -- who was in there eating breakfast? . all right. welcome to apta's 40th annual legislative conference and our nations capital. yesterday was some great sessions, weren't they with the mayor of washington d.c. and some great speakers and thank you all for being here. the conference comes at a momentous time in the industry. we have a lot of things to do this week. we are gearing up for a new surface transportation bill out there. this opening session really set the stage for our discussions over the next few days. in this session, oh we'll -- we will hear from the ceo and janet kovanecki with the u.s. chamber of commerce and pete bruahmn.
our sponsor this morning is ralk fmatch. help me welcome joseph hills vice president for business development who will share some comments on stage. [applause] >> thank you, phil. thank you apta. my name is joe hughes, vice president for three parts of route map software, product management, customer relations and business development. as a brief overview, we provide software for public transit in the rural and urban, small urban areas. we figure we have worked with many people in this room and many other agencies here in the office. you are our partners. every year, we come to this event because to me, it's the
epitome of the pure partnership. it's the most important part of the year for transportation. it represents a group of people that go off into their own business separately but here, they are partners for the greater good of the overall. we are very excited to be a part of this. we would like to think that we can help in any way 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. with that in mind, i have a couple of things -- don't forget while you are your that the purpose of this event is to direct the industry's advocacy efforts and legislative strategy. the keywords i saw there were the advocacy. everyone here is an advocate. second is that you are doing it for the industry. please look out for your cohorts and friends and the other guys who could not be here.
don't forget the rural folks that don't get to come to these things as often. make sure your member that. as a partnership we leave that's how it works. finally, please participate if you have not signed up for the stand up for transportation day on april 9 which will be a great thing in terms of momentum. thank you, apta and everyone for being here. i believe this is the most important event of the year that's why we sponsor it and look over to seeing you guys for the next two days. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you, joe, we appreciate your sponsorship of this opening session. before i get too far in the program, i want to recognize the apta executive committee and the board of directors and passed apta chairs. if you are 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 -- let me say, i was honored to chair the apta strategic planning effort about a year ago or so. we got approved by the full board of directors. this plan sharpens our focus and guides or operation for the next five years. this is the cover of that document. the marketing folks did a great job in putting this together. five significant challenges that we put forth and we were calling these mega-trends - the environment we believe we will be working in for the next 5-10 years. very quickly -- and you will not see this -- this is just the cover of the plan itself. safety and security was the first one.
resource advocacy or funding -- we have been talking about that all week. workforce development. demographic shift and technological innovations. those five things we identified in our strategic plan as megatrends that we will be facing over the next five years. i have to say that we have been having conversations about funding for quite a while. we have been talking about safety and security. we had a great session yesterday that i sat in on on positive training control. these five megatrends i just laid out are so significant. you will 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. you can read the document their
and support its objectives and help us address them. let me talk a little bit about funding. i have been talking about this for the last six month or so. you have heard me talk about rebuilding our country's infrastructure. this is one of the big reasons why we are here in washington at the legislative conference, to appliqcate for a long-term infrastructure bill. this is about building our own country, nation building right here. this is about infrastructure investment and rebuilding our infrastructure in this country. i have called for this national day of advocacy, stand up for transportation that you have heard about. this is the logo we have put together. this april 9 day -- this is the last conference we will have before that april 9 day or is
there another one? there may be another conference coming up. 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 are looking to conduct media events press events in as many american cities as possible. i am 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 to work together to make sure that we address what i called this embarrassingly
massive infrastructure deficit for the last time i looked, this infrastructure deficit was about $90 billion. that is just to maintain our current infrastructure. it's time to fund that state of good repair and time to do all of those things. as we move forward -- i always talk about the whole car analogy. it's like buying a car and not changing your oil for 10 years and expecting that car to continue to run. it's really ridiculous. i was at the board of directors meeting talking about how ludicrous it is for us to have to beg for funding to maintain infrastructure. 10.8 alien trips -- 10.8 billion trips -- we are begging to maintain our infrastructure in this country and it's a shame. i was talking about this at the board of directors meeting.
usually i get work up and get passionate about this infrastructure thing. i was talking at an event and getting pretty passionate. i told myself to slow down or my taxes would be audited if i kept talking. [laughter] if i kept talking bad about our great leaders. this stand up for transportation day is very important. 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 -- i want to show -- i was at the transit ceo meeting. i talked to the transit ceo's about signing up. at that transit ceo meeting in phoenix, we had mayor stanton there. that's mayor stanton actually signing to have phoenix is a part -- as a part of the stand
of 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. if you are not on that map -- who was not on the map? you're not going to raise your hand. [laughter] we've got to fill up this map -- 1407 agencies and businesses and now is your chance of gravity and and sign up. a few things that i would mention in order to sign up for this. the first is act now. the second is identify your partners. apta has a resource toolkit on the website where you can look and figure out who your partners are. we want to recruit all types of
groups, bicyclist groups, environmentalists, seniors veterans students -- people with disabilities. in your areas come in your local areas, we want to engage everyone in this stand up for transportation day. the third piece is planning your event. a ribbon cutting, a rally, an employee roundtable, turning your buses into billboards sharing stats. the fourth piece is looking for active support. apta has a resource toolkit on the website dividing messages resources and you can customize it to your area, talking points, suggested talking points, these kind of things. please do that. let me and my comments -- end my comments with another 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 workforce. i was talking the other day -- if the money begins to flow -- i think we will get a long-term transportation bill this year. i really believe that because i don't think infrastructure apathy can last forever. i don't think dysfunction at the highest levels can last forever in terms of infrastructure. i do believe we will get a long-term bill. what i have 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 workforce to build and rebuild this infrastructure in this country? i'm not sure. i'm not sure that we have the
track maintainers or the signal folks are even the run cutters. i'm not sure we have the qualified workforce in this country to maintain our infrastructure. this idea of holding career pathways for the hardest to fill positions in this interesting -- in this industry are 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 were already trained to do this work is much needed in this country, rebuilding ridges 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 mulanafy. please give him a hand. [applause] ♪ ♪ >> good morning, everybody, how are we doing? give fill a big hand. [applause] each year at this time, we gather in washington, d.c. to share the message of public transportation with our elected officials in congress to help them understand the important impact we have on the vitality of this nation. i am so thrilled to have all of you join us here today. your commitment to come here to
the nations capital and share our story is so important. thank you for making an effort. opportunity as we come together is to meet with our colleagues and share i he is and share concepts and influence decision-makers. this year is more significant. this year is more pressing. map 21 expires in a short 83 days. the presidential election is only 610 days away, not that far at all. the good news is we have a great message to bring to the administration and congress. it is americans want more public transportation. the numbers tell at all. 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. [applause] it's outstanding. that is 101 million more trips
that were taken more than last year. this is the highest public transportation ridership figure in 58 years. the last time ridership was this high, gasoline was $.23 per gallon. these are not extraordinary. the public revolution for public transportation is happening now and it's happening all across the country. this phenomenon is not just in our largest cities. it's happening across the nation in cities large and small. it's not just on the coast. some of the highest ridership happened in cities under 100,000. when you hear people ask, i'm in a small town, why does this matter to me? the ridership increases in cities under 100,000 was double the national growth rate last year. this is it ordinary. there are great things happening.
from san diego to nashville from harrisburg, illinois to bowling green, from washington to new york city -- people opted for public transportation in record numbers. riders were telling us they want more public transportation. now you need to let congress know that we need to make the investment in public transportation to meet this growing need. it is incumbent upon all of us to educate our legislators. they need to know that this nation must have a robust, multi modal surface transportation bill. we cannot continue to have short-term extensions. for the last 10 years, we have had 23 short-term extensions of the surface transportation bill. this is not how you build the greatest country in the world area this is not how you lead a national economy. this is short-term thinking, this is not 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. the other reason we need now is there is a presidential election coming and that will suck up the oxygen in the room and we need to focus now and make it happen now. you need to get up on the hell to make rings happen. how do we achieve our goals? advocacy and local education. we could show the messages in washington, d.c. and hire us to be the experts but you need to share that local message in your town and community. it is so important. when you go up on that hill in the next couple of days, take this package with you. it is loaded with information to help you educate our members of congress and help them see that $10.8 billion -- 10.8 billion trips we have got going on in this country.
you need to show them how this investment is paying off in growing demand and how we needed to continue to provide safe, reliable, dependable service each and every day. congress does not need to go far to see troubling -- crumbling infrastructure. look at the capitol dome. it happens where they work every day. it's time for you to help share the message how we need to make construction investment in our infrastructure. when you are up on the hill, some of them might ask you how can we pay for this robust public transportation bill? certainly, it's our job to explain surface transportation and why it is so vital to our nation's infrastructure and our nations future. congress, that's their job to find the resources. you may hear that policymakers are asking or will tell you that you should be grateful for the status quo. it's ok to get what you get and you should be thankful. what you need to say to them is good enough is not good enough.
a short term bill is not doing it. we need a long-term transportation bill to operate a strong and secure public transportation system across this nation. you all in this room are the subject matter experts. if we are not up, we may need to make these investments, who will? don't be shy or hold back. let them know we need to make these investments. some people will suggest that the money going to transit our diversion of those highway dollars and we need to get transit out and stop this diversion and then we could solve the nations i would problems. don't you fall into that trap. let them know that story is not correct. reminder legislators that in
1983, president ronald reagan put forth a program to raise the federal gas tax. he called it a nickel for america. four cents per bridges, roads, and highways and one cent for transit. that is the origin of the 80/20 split. the dollars that go to transit and the highway trust fund and the mass transit account have always been there for transit. they have never been a diversion. set the record straight -- it's about a system working together. we are here to defend the system to make sure the system works well together. we have had a very long partnership. partnerships are what makes the program work between passengers,'s date, local, and federal governments. that is 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 roadway so we can have the free flow of goods and products and services to run our roadway network. it all works together as a system. removing us from the highway trust fund is a bit like removing the steering will from a bus. it does not make any sense. it all has to work together. dot has their own bill, a robust year bill called the grow america act. we may not agree with every single part of it. this bill does a great job of telling congress that we need to move in the right direction and that this stuff matters. we cannot do it alone. we have to work together. we are pleased that joining us at the conference today will be fta acting administrator terese mcmillan and joining her will be sarah feinberg.
they will share the administrations positions and proposals and take your questions from the audience. where also thrilled that joining us up or a human is on the stage will be two great leaders in the transportation field that work tirelessly in washington d.c. when you see me testify on capitol hill, if there is very often to people standing next to me. janet kavinoki and dr. pete tremayne who will help tell the story about how we have to work together to move the ball forward. the package of a surface transformation will -- transportation bill is a lengthy process. we gather the information in 2013. we put the data together. we brought it to the hill and we brought it to our partners so we could see together what those needs were. now we are in the second stage of that process with different ideas put together to coalesce to what will be come a bill. there is lots of different bills
out there and lots of different ideas. do not be distracted by the shiny things in the water. state focused on her mission. stay focused on our message as we shepherd for the next stage in actual transportation bill. we should be bold in our approach because we know that needs are real. we know the demands from the public are real and we know the infrastructure investment needs. are real. we know we have been able to functionally demonstrate public transportation has a significant financial impact on this nations economy. for every dollar invested in public transportation, economic return is four times that, for dollars of economic return for each one dollar invested in public transportation. it's not just about the economic return it's about jobs and 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. even more importantly, the federal government does not build our buses and trains and transit shelters. the private sector does that the consultants, the oems' they make this happen. the federal dollars, most of that is capital dollars. fully 73% of the government dollars that come into transit flows through to the private sector. they are creating jobs across the nation, good high-paying, high-quality jobs. be sure to share the jobs story with the policymakers on the hill. tell them how they are creating jobs and opportunities to get the jobs in cities large and small, urban and rural, across our nation.
the job does not end there. you will do a great job on the hill the next couple of days, i know you are. you will storm the hill but when you go back to your community's is where the real work will happen. that's when you bring you the members of congress and elected officials to your property and companies. show them, don't just tell them where the federal dollars are going. let them see and touch and feel your trains and buses in transit shelters and factories and offices and job site. let the major drivers and mechanics and dispatchers and engineers and fieldworkers. 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 driving to the next rotary club event, they can point to that train or shelter or station and
say there are federal dollars that work there and i am proud to see that enhancing the ability in my community. they can see that is all part of a system and you all make that happen. you convey that message. as we finish up our meetings this morning and as you take the hell and hear from the administration and members of congress and their partners appear, take these messages to the health, share the story that we need well-funded long-term surface transportation bill. when you do 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 and dedication to the industry. it's my pleasure now to introduce our featured speakers. first up is janet kovanecki -
i probably trapped up -- i probably chopped up your name again, nationally recognized expert in transportation policy, funding, and finance with the u.s. chamber of commerce. janet wears several hats of the chamber. she is the chambers executive director of transportation and infrastructure and she is vice president of the americas for transportation mobility coalition and leaves the chambers 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 a.m. and i don't know what they put in your coffee but that's terrific. i am so pleased to be here again at apta. you how many of you have heard that it is important to be here? this is a test because you just heard it. a few don't raise your hand, i'm afraid you are asleep. thank god. i don't have to commit to you. there are new staff on the hell. some of you they will talk to you for years and say, nice to see you again, but i know your story. some of you you are walking into offices on the hill with completely new staff. a 23-year-old looking at you like, transit, what is transit? you have to tell them your story.
and why transit is important in your community. for some of you, how many of you have a newly elected freshman member of the house or senate you will go see today? these people do not know anything about what you do. i will put money on that. you have a chance to go in and it's not just about talking a little bit about what is going on in your town and why this is important. you have 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 and sustains employment. most importantly, how the federal government -- how important federal investment is to that. there is a lot of noise on capitol hill today. we transportation people, we tend to think that we are unique and special. like, we are transportation. we have a trust fund. this is all good.
except that, in the last 10 years or so, it has not been quite all that good. now, you go to capitol hill -- you know, it to the senate six weeks to pass a department of homeland security bill just in the house. just an appropriations bill. nothing complicated. just an appropriations bill for the department of homeland security. the senate spent three weeks debating the keystone pipeline. we have kind of done that one before. we have been there, done the keystone thing before. the president vetoed it here it took three weeks to do that. they have a debt ceiling debate to come up. they need to pass the budget between now and may 31. in june, the export bank, the import bank will expire again. we have a medicare problem
coming up. there is a lot of noise in capitol hill. you being here cut through that noise. you are a person from the district, from the state representing employees. you can say, i am buying buses, railcars. you are 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 hour with a member of congress. this is your chance. here is why it is important. transit is under attack in washington. i cannot open a newspaper during a week when i do not see an article, when i don't see an op-ed that is in place by the heritage foundation -- i know it is heritage foundation because i've seen the stuff -- that says that transit is a waste of money out of the highway trust
fund, and if we retain -- we work to take that out, we would solve all the problems. you are here today -- can i say about word -- and adware? you are here to say, i don't care of carly fiorina had an article in the wall street journal saying that transit is a waste of money. you are looking those members of congress today and i just say, you tell me this is a waste of money. you talk about the people who are writing her buses or your trains. you challenge them. you'd -- it is really easy for them to say in meetings, on capitol hill, you know, they get together and talk to each other. when i get fired, michael, my resume is coming to you.
thank god i'm not qualified to work at metro. they say, this is really easy, we need another 10 or $50 billion. we will dump out transit. that is easy for them to say to each other, but it will be real hard when you are in their offices. you will hear them say, the market ought to decide. transit is very local. the local folks are paying for it. i was in south carolina doing a presentation at the south carolina chamber of commerce . anyone hear from south carolina? in the back. thank you very much. you have a congressman from their who said a lot of the right things, including that we need to raise the gas tax. i complement tom rice for saying we ought to raise the gas tax. rice put up a chart and showed, south carolina, we don't really
get transit money back. if we got rid of transit, we could fix the highway problem. i responded, south carolina, 47% of your resources in south carolina for transit come from the federal government. don't tell me it doesn't matter. don't tell me it's a small amount. that's a pretty big deal. that's in south carolina. then he said well you know, we give all of this money to washington and it only goes to two transit systems, los angeles and new york. really? so you get to go to capitol hill today and explain to them, look, this is about the economy. you get to tell them book, we have been investing in transit for years. this is not all about the market deciding. i will mention, i work for the u.s. chamber of commerce.
i get to say all of the fun stuff. this is an waste. this is about investment. it's about a complete system. you are important today on capitol hill because you are going to go out there, you going to take on those people who are saying transit doesn't need to be a part of this. you are going to take them on directly. do not let them off the hog. do not let them tell you, i'm not on the committee of jurisdiction, i don't know if there's anything i can do about it. that is crap. they can call their leadership. they can say these transportation for you by wearing me out. we need to make sure we do it bill. you know how things you prioritize and you -- in the u.s. house and senate? when members come back from recess, they tell their leadership who has been beating them out. that helps the torment --
determine the priority list. but when they realize, we don't get something on the floor and get it done, our members will be beat up at home. it's time to not let them off the hook. i will give you one other thing to think about. that is you are all in this together. we are all in this together. the u.s. chamber of commerce, the builders association, the americans for transportation modebility association. we're all in this together. for you, and transit, you are all in this together. interview go to the hill, and it becomes us versus light rail conversations about big transit system versus small transit systems. that's just the division that congress needs. it sticks used they need to say there is no unity there.
we will get rid of those guys. you have to go with the unified voice today. you have to representing transit . you have to represent transportation. past a long-term transportation bill. don't let them drag you into a conversation about what part of transit is better. i hate the idc streetcar -- forget that. that's not what this conversation is about. this conversation is that we need a long-term, fully funded transportation bill that supports growth, investment, and jobs. just like michael said, we need it now. we will be standing up with you for transportation on april 9 what -- what perfect timing. this is the end of the easter recess. for the 10 days before that,
because that recess starts on march 30, you can be taken people out and showing them budgets, where federal investment happens. you can show them how your partnering with dot how transit is an back to your business community. on april 9, just in case any of you haven't thought about what you're going to talk about -- on april night, what a great story you have, or op-ed, or blog posts or set of tweets because you can talk about what you have been doing for the last 10 days, showing your members of congress and your delegation your community what transportation is about and why transportation matters. if you can't pick up the phone and call your state or local chamber of commerce, let me know. michael has my cell phone number. i will give you my cell phone number if you want it right now.
it might just be easier if michael gives it to you later. we will make that happen. phil this is a tremendous opportunity for all of us to stand up together for transportation. i am proud to stand here today. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you, janet. she is fantastic. isn't she? she really is. [applause] now, we will hear from peter rua ne of the american road and transportation builders association. peter has 40 years of expense and economic development construction, and i heard you are a marine as well. i'm army. one service.
he is vice president of the chamber of mobility coalition. he was previously a deputy in the office of the fence. 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 michael, and janet. i have only one response. whohurah. anybody valley part -- valley
et-parked? $42? holy moses. so, you tell the members of congress they are valet parked here at the hotel three days a week. we will take that and fund the transit program. yikes. well, michael, i heard you twice this morning on w top -- the leading radio station this morning. you to tell me that truck was broken down. good message. two separate messages. well done as always. ok folks. don't have much time. we will hear some other speakers for us. i hope all of you know that there is a "t" in our name.
all modes of transportation, improvements of capital projects, and in fact, that is a major market for many of the members. that t has been there for about four years now. we are about 100 -- what? 140 years old. that is a long time. we are very pleased, recently michael and i cosigned a letter to the wall street journal which got published. believe me, they got that published responding to be one of be presidential candidate, carly. i was a lot of fun. we did some public opinion surveys at the end of the last year together. over the years, i think many of
you know this, we've had a number of joint advertising programs together in our lobbying efforts. of course, as phil and michael both referenced, and janet as well, we have been partners with various coalitions for ve many years. i feel that comes with your. very much at home. i know there's still some out there that like to divide us and think we only represent the highway industry. that's a crock. we represent the construction industry. generically, we build the rail, ports, all the high-speed, what little there is, and of course the highways transit, and bridges of this nation. working together, it can't be overstated. it hasn't said already, but i
will say it again the importance of us working together in these coming days and months. now, you know that we have -- janet made reference to this -- i called them out they have informed a lot of people with that information. heritage is out there trying to divide us. they are putting out bomb information in the mainstream to the public. and frankly, most of what they put out there is mythological, not fact-based. those two groups have one thing in common. they are both wrong. wrong. zero sum game is a metaphor that
we all like to use. we are not going to get trapped in that. we are here to advance the cause of transportation. frankly, there is a chronic underinvestment in all the modes of transportation in this country. we are not going to get trapped. we are not going to do that. i has happened a few times in the past. i remember when i joined in the last century. that's exactly the way it was by the way. some of you remember it. we were the highway community. apta was the transit community. seldom did they meet. that was 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 are facing. the facts, not the myths have
been adequately conveyed by all this over the years months, over recent days. none of them can say they don't know the truth. they may refer to the latest ad, or radio ad, that they have heard. the crying. folks, the facts are out there. that is one of the good things. the last eight years of uncertainty have clearly led to some bad decisions around the country. a lot of states have held off their investment because they can't count on the federal government's partnership. we have essentially had a frozen program in recent years.
in fact, we have had major cuts that no one wants to talk about. we have taken a nearly $3 billion cut in the overall highway program in recent years. 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. more important than that, after this eight year period of uncertainty, indecision, putting things off, i believe -- sil made this, in his opening remarks -- i also believe that we will get a long-term piece of legislation this year. now, i am among the might party -- among the minority. there are a few of us here that believe that. a lot of our colleagues don't. a lot of our members don't.
a lot of our member companies do not believe we are going to get a long-term piece of legislation this year. you know what they're doing as a result? they are laying back. some are laying off. that has caused serious problems in the economy. and uncertainty. we monitor this very closely. you are well aware of that some of the major states have already announced they are cutting back. here we are, march. we have until the end of may. most important, we still don't know what the solution to the highway trust program is, besides the valet parking approach that mention. 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 and do the right thing. we are very encouraged. particularly on -- i will call them jailhouse conversions -- we have had some conversions. long-term opponents of doing the right thing. they are now prepared to do the right thing. so we are going to roll out something here in a few days that will add to what is 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. an aim that -- hitting this
debate off of a dime, off its rear end. you are going to be surprised at the bipartisan support. you will run into this week. maybe not surprised, but may shocked, some of you will be shocked. i think it is real. i think you will see a very serious attempt to finally deal with this and the coming weeks. we can talk about very specific things. i'm not sure if you want to do that. a couple of things have happened recently. that's why we have this positive outlook. we are naturally optimistic. sometimes people think we are fullest. we are not members of the brigade of the town. it is a pretty big brigade. they don't want to face a tough
political opposition that is still out there. just last week, 285 members of the house -- 285 out of 412, what are the numbers? 435? a majority on both sides of the aisle side a letter saying, let's get it done, let's resolve the problem, let's get it done. we have also seen, right after the election, last november, the new senate majority leader on national tv said there are only two things we will deal with right away, tax reform and taking care of the transportation trust fund issue.
don't tell me there isn't support out there. there is real world support. it's up to us to close the deal. where are we? people love to us that question. you know, where are we? i don't know. where you standing? right there. i love to say, an old marine saying, one hair short of ugly. you know what that means? it is ugly. it will get uglier, the end of may. the timing of your event is perfect. you couldn't have scheduled this at a better time. your april event -- we also have the transportation construction coalition coming in after easter
with all the guests from the holiday. then, we will be storming the hill as well. we are going to have a wave of industry representatives carrying the message and trying to get congress to do the right thing. you know, we can talk all day about specific solutions. 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 of the year nearing -- ying-yang for years.
this is a fat free zone. you solve this politically. that's why you are here. and has been well said -- phil and michael is perfectly, janet added the icing on the cake. you have to tell your story. you have to tell specific facts and say, folks, if you don't do the right thing, there will be confidences. political consequences. a lot of people don't like to do that. you know, we tell our members, you have to talk to them back home, get in their face, tell them your story, but what good is all that? today, they know most of that. that is different than in the past. you now have to add that final
sentence, we are keeping score. we are paying attention. we are not stupid or naive. you are here -- you were sent here to do a job. guess what it is 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 i had a time -- ahead of time. we did not force them to come here. i don't see the guys and gals up there in chains. they are here on purpose. that is to solve our nation's problems. to deal with our nations challenges in the future. that is why they're here where you remind them of that. how are we going to do a? we have to change the debate. the debate, as i said, there's
clarity and most quarters now. but you know, you have to remove the bubble wrap around these discussions. i might get hurt -- take it out way, and say these are the hard fact. the hard facts, and if you would n ignore them, there will be -- consequences. we keep score. we are not up here on some trip, to go around and get ripped off. we are here to do a job. so, there's no time for subtleties. no time for subtleties. as dennett said, if you think -- as janet said, if you think you are talking to daffy duck, be patient.
what is the key of these meetings? follow-up. you have to follow-up with everyone you met with, you talk to, and you follow up back home. go back and visit their local office. i just went to dce, i saw senator such and such, and they said such and such. when you come back here, and they go to recess -- there's lots of them -- they come back you say, i want to see them again. so in terms of avoiding subtleties you will hear ideas that -- we had this, i don't know, i was in annapolis yesterday. i live in annapolis.
the new governor was leading the parade. i'm there with six of my nine grandchildren, my wife. the governor comes, and i governor, he said i'm in favor of the green line. we did intervene. on that project. we don't normally do that. i sent a nice valentines letter to governor cuomo last week. about the situation in new york. some of you fine folks i'm sure are from new york. we don't normally do that either. both of those situations have national implications far beyond their respective states.
if they do not invest here, if they don't invest in the states, it affects the adjacent states and the whole bloody country. my five-year-old grandson said, pop, how come you did not give us any candy or necklaces? i said peter he gives you candy after you give him candy. he looked -- ok. so, you are going to hear what i call jedi mind groep -- jedi mind crap and how they are going
to solve this problem. there is an elementary way to do with this. what is it called? raise the bloody user fee. raise the bloody user fee. have the political courage to do this. it is in front of you. it is the proven most efficient way to get it done. do it. do it. who -- ho-rah. [applause] >> wow. give all three of our speakers a great hand. [applause] bear with me. we will do a photo law. i will ask the speakers to come back up. guess what, we have the t-shirts and the back of chips. come up, please. no we do not have the back of
10:30 in this room. we are adjourned, thank you for coming. ♪ >> within the hour we will take you live to a band that conquered wisconsin with wisconsin governor scott walker who was speaking at a workshop hosted by the new hampshire republican party. it is part of the road to the white house coverage. it will get underway at 11:45 a.m. eastern. until then another event from new hampshire with south carolina senator lindsey graham. he spoke at a politics and eggs breakfast. a regular program. this was under grandpa's first visit to new hampshire since he announced he was considering a 2016 presidential run.
-- senator grandpa's first visit to the new hampshire senate since he announced he was considering a -- senator graham's first visit to new hampshire since he was considering a 2016 presidential run. senator graham: i feel better already knowing it is free. just remember you get what you pay for. the national guard i didn't know you could say it like you did but this is a wonderful experience. if this is what it is like to run for president it could be fun. that panel you mentioned who was on it, barney and who else? >> barney frank, sununu. senator graham: i wouldn't want to be on a panel with barney. he's smart. anybody been to south carolina? ooh. come back and spend money.