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TLPA Members Take to Capitol Hill with Two Requests for Lawmakers

Descending on Washington, DC from around the country this week, TLPA members took to Capitol Hill to urge members of Congress to focus on two major issues for the industry: fingerprint-based background checks and a level playing field at airports.

With a nearby hotel as a staging ground, TLPA members were briefed June 12 with the latest updates on the issues by association staff and consultants. The following day, members criss-crossed the halls of Congress with their messages, meeting with dozens of elected lawmakers (check out our quick video highlighting the day!) The two-day advocacy push was all part of TLPA’s annual Legislative Fly-In for members.

On the first issue, members urged the importance of mandating that companies providing transportation under federal contracts ensure all drivers undergo a national fingerprint-based background check. More than 80 programs across the federal government are authorized to fund transportation services for individuals with disabilities, older adults, veterans, people with lower incomes and others who require alternatives to traditional public transportation services.

“The public must feel, at all times, that safety is the primary concern,” TLPA President Bill Scalzi said. “Proper biometric-based background checks are the gold standard, and they definitively confirm that drivers are who they say they are. These checks can protect passengers from harm and serve as a deterrent to dangerous actions, including everything from assaults to potential terrorist actions.”

Almost uniformly, support was voiced for the public safety benefits of requiring private sector drivers to pass a fingerprint-based criminal background check before they could provide passenger service under a federally funded contract.

Second, members discussed the importance of ensuring a level playing field for transportation companies that provide service to America’s airports. Fees for airport access for such companies must therefore be proportional to the use of such facilities, the members said. In addition, if passengers cannot find a carrier because it lacks equal access to onsite facilities, or if operating rules favor one provider over another, then airports risk artifically distorting the market.

“If companies abide by the same safety rules and pay a fair fee for access to airports, then passengers will decide for themselves what is the best mode of transportation, rather than the airport tipping the scale in favor of one company over another,” Scalzi said.

A highlight of the two-day event was a presentation from Anthony Bedell, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs, U.S. Department of Transportation, the third highest-ranking official at the U.S. DOT. Mr. Bedell’s topic was, “An Overview of the Trump Administration’s Infrastructure Priorities.”

Mr. Bedell said safety was the number one concern for the administration, which he said is also looking at creating good policies that include leveling the playing field.

“The turnout was fantastic, and the reception we received from elected officials was extremely encouraging,” TLPA CEO Alfred LaGasse said. “Our members really did an incredible job representing the issues and concerns of our industry.”

For any members who wish they could have been there, not to worry: These issues and more will be the topic of discussions at upcoming TLPA events, including TLPA’s Mid-Year International Leadership Conference in Anchorage, Alaska, July 12-15, and TLPA’s 99 th Annual Convention & Trade Show in Denver, Colorado, October 8-12. So be sure to make your plans to attend! More information can be found in the “ Meetings and Education” section of the TLPA website.

Many thanks and congratulations to the many committed members of TLPA who participated in this excellent legislative fly-in. TLPA could not have held this event without these dedicated members, each of whom is a leader in the professional transportation industry! 

Additional photos of the 2017 Legislative Fly-In are below:

Posted 6/16/2017 1:17:33 PM