APTA Legislative Conference Opens with Continued Commitment to New Infrastructure


APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas and Chair Michele Wong Krause welcomed a near-record number of attendees to APTA’s 2024 Legislative Conference April 7-9 in Washington, DC.

Calling recent congressional approval of the FY24 transportation appropriations “an important victory about which we should feel extraordinarily good,” Skoutelas described how APTA is already advocating for higher funding levels for FY25. These efforts include a new communications campaign that uses personal stories to get people to think differently about public transportation.

“When we see a city bus, a rail car, or a new transit station, we are really seeing thousands of manufacturing jobs, a catalyst for economic growth, and a gateway to opportunities,” he explained.

Skoutelas urged attendees to watch for a Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) bus while on Capitol Hill wrapped with the APTA message “This is more than a bus,” along with signage showing the U.S. locations where its brakes, tires, seats, and other parts are manufactured.

Telling attendees that there has never been a time in history when public transportation has had so much at stake, Wong Krause said, “Our hard-earned funding victories must be protected because there is still much more work to do. Thanks to investments being made by APTA members through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law [BIL], Americans are seeing how transit is a driving force behind our national economy.”

She called meetings like the APTA Legislative Conference “an incubator” for sharing the best ways to address the evolving , unprecedented challenges of today’s political landscape.

In a video message, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said that under the BIL—the largest federal investment in transit in U.S. history—“FTA has invested more than $65 billion across thousands of projects in every state. Many things in the transit world are changing, but what stays the same is the enormous value that public transportation brings to our neighborhoods, our communities, our economy, and our country.”

WMATA Board Chair Paul Smedberg, and General Manager and CEO Randy Clarke welcomed attendees to Washington, DC, with a video about the system. Smedberg also shared some impressive news: ridership has increased to above pre-pandemic 2019 levels, customer satisfaction is at an all-time high, and last week more than 46,000 people toured the system’s soon-to-be-in-service, state-of-the-art rail car and electric bus prototype: “WMATA’s fleet of the Future.”

Special guest speaker FTA Acting Administrator Veronica Vanterpool was introduced by a video that summarized FTA’s 60-year history.

Making her first appearance at a major conference since being named acting administrator, Vanterpool described how the Biden Administration has awarded competitive grants to nearly 9,000 transit projects nationwide. Last week, FTA announced more than $20 billion in FY24 federal funding.

“We are delivering more funding for more good projects than ever before,” she said, adding, “and this record funding is getting into our communities at record speed with thanks to you.”

At the end of her remarks, Vanterpool was joined on stage for a discussion involving three FTA officials: Dana Nifosi, acting chief counsel; Theresa Kohler, chief financial officer; and Paul Kincaid, associate administrator for communications and congressional affairs.

View the entire Opening General Session and FTA Update discussion here.