Congressional leaders address ATSSA members during Legislative Briefing & Virtual Fly-In
ATSSA Members are scheduled for 54 meetings with U.S. legislators on Wednesday
ATSSA members heard from three members of Congress and a U.S. Senator today during the first day of the Association’s two-day Legislative Briefing & Fly-In.
This year’s event was handled via virtual format with nearly 70 people taking part from across the country. Two members of Congress spoke from their Capitol Hill offices.
Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.), a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, shared that transportation issues generally receive bipartisan support though that hadn’t been the case this year.
“The transportation committee is that haven where people actually get along,” he said.
He expressed his support for transportation and infrastructure funding and said he expected Congress to extend the highway program, which is scheduled to expire on Sept. 30. He said he hoped it would be extended for a full year, something ATSSA and others in the transportation and roadway safety industry support.
The one-year extension would provide stability for the industry going into 2021, ATSSA Vice President of Government Relations Nate Smith said.
Graves also expressed support for transportation technology, which ATSSA Board Chair Greg Driskell and Foundation President Dave Krahulec said was important to members. Both expressed concerns about the time lag in getting new technology through approvals and into use.
Rep. Anthony Brindisi, co-chair of the House Blue Dog Caucus, expressed his support for infrastructure funding but said ATSSA members shouldn’t expect action until after Election Day. He expects that whoever wins the presidential race will make it a priority.
Brindisi (D-N.Y.) is also a member of the House Problem Solvers Caucus, which includes 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans, and this morning released a plan for the next COVID-19 related stimulus package. He said the caucus gets little attention because it works toward compromise.
“The biggest problem in politics,” he said, is that “the extremes of both sides work against the middle.”
Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, appeared via video as did Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.).
Today's session also included a briefing about infrastructure and safety issues on tribal roads.
On Wednesday, ATSSA members are scheduled for 54 meetings with federal legislators or their staff members.
Smith provided tips for the virtual meetings and emphasized the importance of legislative advocacy on behalf of the roadway safety infrastructure industry. One-third of today’s participants had never taken part in a Legislative Briefing & Fly-In so the practical advice was essential – especially on a virtual platform.
Smith encouraged them to explain what they do, the jobs they provide and their role in saving lives on U.S. roadways. He also encouraged them to invite the legislators and their staffs to visit their facilities when they are at home.