Rep. Larsen Advises Agencies to Share Wins, Communicate Value


Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA), ranking member, Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, is a staunch advocate for public transit. It’s clean and convenient for many people, a “lifeline” for still more, and, for Larsen, “It’s better than driving.”

Larsen’s praise for public transportation started a View from the Hill session on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) at APTA’s 2024 Legislative Conference and gave emphasis to part of his message: Share transportation success stories with your elected representatives to show current support and create allies for future projects.

Public transportation agencies should talk to their legislators often, said Larsen, about how the BIL is working for them, the tangible benefits of transportation, and be “continually communicating about why this is necessary.”

“It’s particularly critical now that we think about transit as we move toward—are you ready for this?—for reauthorization of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”

Reauthorization will be a task for the next session of Congress, he said, “And I’m committed to ensuring that we get this reauthorization done, because major investment in infrastructure needs to be the norm and not the exception.”

From left: Jeff Wharton, secretary/treasurer, APTA; and director, contracts and technical services, SYSTRA USA; Rep. Larsen, APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas; Dorval R. Carter, Jr., immediate past chair, APTA; and president, Chicago Transit Authority.

Washington State received more than $8 billion in BIL support for 600-plus projects, including, Larsen noted, the consecutive successes of planned bus service increases, prompted by construction of a CIG-funded light rail extension slated to open in August.

Larsen also acknowledged some of the challenges for transportation, in the labor and equipment markets, plus the Administration’s policy changes and technical assistance to support struggling agencies. He hoped to make the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee a support, too, seeking input from agencies on what is and isn’t working in policy.

In closing, Larsen returned to the message of the value of public transportation, and of transportation agencies advocating for themselves. “I just encourage you all to be part of this communication to all of my colleagues, whether Democratic or Republican, to talk to them about the role that transit plays in people’s lives.”