Retiring Rep. Blumenauer Urges Action to Sustain Growth Environment for Transportation


U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), member of the Ways and Means Committee and ranking member of the Subcommittee on Trade, has dedicated his 50-year career to public service. A flag-bearer for creating truly livable communities, he is a great advocate of affordable housing, public transportation, and sustainable economies.

He is also “the best champion of transit that TriMet or APTA could have hoped for,” said Sam Desue, Jr., general manager, Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet). Desue introduced Rep. Blumenauer for a Fireside Chat at the 2024 APTA Legislative Conference and presented him with APTA’s Congressional Legacy Award.

APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas said “This award honors a Member of Congress who has had the tenacity and vision throughout their career to advance public transportation and access to mobility for all. It is fitting that Representative Blumenauer be honored today for his 28 years of support for the people, businesses, and organizations that make up public transportation in America today.”

Dorval R. Carter, Jr. takes part in a fireside chat with Rep. Blumenauer.

Skoutelas described how Blumenauer was instrumental in securing important victories for public transportation, and that “he has been a friend and champion for our industry and to APTA.”

In his acceptance, Blumenauer was grateful for the honor, and full of advice for the future. “We are part of a sea change,” he said. The Administration is supporting transportation with needed resources, “and now, the promise of a low-carbon, equitable future depends on our mobilizing to access those resources.”

Blumenauer listed light rail examples around the country, of projects that were “done right, with land use (regulations) that makes sense, that has the housing opportunities, the economic opportunities,” and could transform communities.

Dorval R. Carter, Jr., APTA immediate past chair and president, Chicago Transit Authority, interviewed Blumenauer, who will retire at the end of his term, regarding his time in Congress and the opportunities ahead for transportation. Blumenauer explained that public support is shifting toward transportation projects, but it will take time, and is learning from mistakes. Respectful community engagement was nonexistent in many failed projects of the past but is going to be a determining factor for success in future work.

From left: Paul P. Skoutelas; MJ Maynard, APTA vice chair and CEO, Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada; Michele Wong Krause, APTA chair; Rep. Blumenauer (holding the APTA Congressional Legacy Award); Sam Desue, Jr.; Dorval R. Carter, Jr.; Jeff Wharton, APTA secretary/treasurer and director, contracts and technical services, SYSTRA USA.