APTA and JITTI Host Rail Symposium


APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas addressed the APTA-Japan International Transport and Tourism Institute (JITTI) Rail Symposium “Value Creation for a Sustainable Society” at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC, April 11. JITTI Chairman Masafumi Shukuri; Masako Okano, deputy director-general, Railway Bureau, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism of Japan; and FRA Deputy Administrator Jennifer Mitchell, also addressed the rail transit professionals in attendance from the U.S. and Japan.

Skoutelas noted that the focus on rail transit and passenger rail comes at an exceptional point in time. “American public transportation agencies and international companies are making historic investments in our passenger rail systems thanks to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act—also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.” He added that, “Our aspirations are high: we know that investing in transit can help America address such issues as affordable housing, cleaner air and water, improved racial and economic equity, and greater access to more opportunities for all.”

Skoutelas highlighted that Deputy Administrator Mitchell is part of a team of transformational leaders at USDOT who are hard at work implementing the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in ways that are helping achieve broader national environmental, social, and economic goals.

FRA is seeking to connect cities and regions with high-performance rail service, something in which Japan has led the world since opening the Shinkansen System 60 years ago. FRA has put in place a sound strategy, Skoutelas remarked. “Begin by focusing on a small number of corridor projects that can advance quickly, while developing a broader pipeline of longer-term projects that will move forward as they become ready.”

Skoutelas also placed a focus on “all the major commuter, heavy, and light-rail projects that have recently opened or are being planned and will make a lasting impact on regional economies and quality of life [in the United States]”.

The program was capped by two roundtable discussions focused on the role of rail in connecting cities and enhancing urban attractiveness and resilience.

Additional APTA member speakers included:

  • Chris Brady, chair, APTA High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail Committee and principal, Commonwealth Research Associates, LLC.
  • Jennifer DeBruhl, director, Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation.
  • Andy Byford, senior vice president, high speed rail programs, Amtrak.
  • Chad Edison, chief deputy secretary, rail and transit, California State Transportation Agency.
  • Catherine Rinaldi, president, MTA Metro-North Railroad.
  • Holly Arnold, administrator, Maryland Transit Administration

Access a recording of the program here.