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Legislative Fly-In Occurs Amid Intense Action on Capitol Hill

TLPA member Tom Arrighi meeting with his congressman, Rep. Bill Keating of Massachusetts during the TLPA Legislative Fly-In

Be concise, be repetitive, forget the sports talk, and get right to discussing the merits of the bill.

That’s the advice Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) dished out to a group of TLPA members preparing to hit Capitol Hill on the morning of June 20th for the annual TLPA Legislative Fly-In. Fellow lawmaker Jeff Denham (R-CA) also met with members to review the status of an infrastructure bill prior to their meetings.

The Hill was buzzing that day, with TLPA members arriving in Washington smack in the middle of the immigration debate.

Members from across the country flew in for the two-day event, visiting 60 House and Senate offices to meet with their legislators and staff and impart important messages about driver fingerprinting, contracting concerns and regulatory issues.

“They have so many people seeing them with so many different issues,” said Judy Swystun, past TLPA president and president of Hampton Roads Transportation, Inc. “The fact that we go year after year now is really important to the industry to get our concerns—our issues—heard so that when these topics come up in Congress they’ve heard it, they understand it, and now they’re ready to address it for our whole industry.”

Members reached out to their representatives with three legislative objectives:

  1. Enacting a federal requirement that all drivers providing passenger transportation funded by the federal government submit to fingerprint-based FBI criminal background checks and drug and alcohol testing.
  2. Supporting H.R. 891, the Federal Transit Modernization Act introduced by Representative Mark Meadows (R-NC), which provides public-transit agencies with more options to meet the needs of their communities by eliminating section 5333(b) granting unions extraordinary super-rights. The measure does not affect labor’s right to collective bargaining.
  3. Drafting a legislative provision to provide a level playing field for ground-transportation companies at airports. Given the number of stakeholders seeking access to limited curb space at airports, TLPA supports the formation of the Department of Transportation’s working group (as required in the FAA reauthorization bill) to address a number of concerns, the eventual establishment of a level playing field free from undue and discriminatory regulatory burdens, and continued participation by private operators to best serve the traveling public.

It was a heady day. And surely a confidence builder to get a nuts-and-bolts pep talk from the legislators.

“This morning we had the privilege of listening to Congressman Meadows and Congressman Denham share some thoughts on some things going on at the legislature today,” said Mike Pinckard, TLPA president and CEO of Total Transit in Glendale, Arizona. “There was strong consensus that federally funded transportation should underscore safety first and foremost.”

Posted 7/10/2018 11:19:39 AM