Transportation experts will discuss their growing concerns of fixing America's crumbling transportation infrastructure, the woeful lack of investments and funding for our national highways, bridges, transit and airport systems. As they tackle this important issue, they will also review a newly completed national survey on the topic."
Mort Downey has more than 50 years of distinguished public service, including eight years as the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation. Most recently, Mort led President Obama's Transition Team for USDOT and he served as a senior advisor to Secretary LaHood during the Senate confirmation process. He is currently the Chairman of PB Consult (the Strategic Consulting division of PB), where he provides advisory services on federal legislation, policy development, infrastructure finance, and transportation market trends. His prior experience also includes service as the Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in New York, the Assistant Secretary for Budget and Programs at USDOT, and the first transportation program analyst for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Budget.
Steve Heminger is Executive Director of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). MTC is the regional transportation planning and finance agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. It allocates more than $1 billion per year in funding for the operation, maintenance and expansion of the Bay Areaâ€™s surface transportation network.
Since 1998, MTC has served as the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) responsible for administering all toll revenue from the seven state-owned bridges. BATA has a â€œAAâ€ credit rating and plans to issue over $9 billion in toll revenue bonds to finance bridge, highway, and transit construction projects over the next several years. MTC also functions as the regionâ€™s Service Authority for Freeways and Expressways (SAFE) and operates a fleet of 80 tow trucks and 2,600 roadside call boxes to assist motorists in trouble. In addition, MTC manages the FasTrak electronic toll collection system, the Clipper universal fare card program for public transit and the popular 511 traveler information telephone number and web site.
Mr. Heminger was appointed by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to serve on the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission, which will help chart the future course for the federal transportation program. As chairman of the Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee, Mr. Heminger also is overseeing construction of the new East Span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge â€” the largest public works project currently underway in the United States. In addition, he is Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Mineta Transportation Institute and President of the Board of Directors for the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations.
Mr. Heminger received his Master of Arts degree from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Georgetown University.
John Horsley is Executive Director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).
From 1993 to 1999 he served at the U.S. Department of Transportation. As Associate Deputy Secretary, he was an advocate for intermodal policies, quality of life initiatives, and liaison to State and Local Governments, U.S. Congress, and transportation constituencies.
A native of the Northwest, Horsley was elected to five terms as County Commissioner in Kitsap County, a community just west of Seattle. He is a graduate of Harvard, an Army veteran, a former Peace Corps volunteer and Congressional aide, and did graduate study at Georgetown. He is Past President of the National Association of Counties, and was founding Chairman of the Rebuild America Coalition.
Will Kempton is the chief executive officer of the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), serving in the position since 2009.
The OCTA is responsible for planning, financing and coordinating Orange County's freeway, street and rail development as well as managing bus services, commuter-rail services and paratransit service. OCTA has 1,500 employees, a $1.1 billion annual budget and is governed by a 17-voting member board of directors.
Prior to joining OCTA, Kempton was appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as the director of the California Department of Transportation. For five years, he oversaw a nearly $14 billion budget and 22,000 employees, and was responsible for managing the daily operations of California's transportation system, including more than 50,000 miles of highways. Kempton also has served as the City of Folsom's assistant city manager for community services and was a member of the city's Parks and Recreation Commission for eight years.
Kempton's career has spanned nearly 40 years in transportation, public service and government affairs. He is recognized as an authority on public infrastructure financing, sales-tax programs and project delivery. He is known for his results-oriented leadership style, his consensus approach to problem solving and for developing innovative solutions in order to achieve positive outcomes.
Michael P. Melaniphy is president and chief executive officer of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). A nationally recognized leader, Melaniphyâ€™s entire career has been in public transportation, with more than 24 years of both public and private sector experience. Always a strong advocate for giving back, he also serves on a number of higher education and non-profit boards.
Previously, Melaniphy served as vice president public sector for the bus manufacturer, Motor Coach Industries, Inc., where he worked for more than 10 years and was responsible for a $250 million division with facilities in the United States and Canada.
Prior to that, he led public transit systems for 11 years in Charlotte, NC; Wichita, KS; Hamilton, OH; and Laredo, TX.
Melaniphyâ€™s career began while a student at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN, as a bus driver for the university basketball team coached by Bobby Knight. He graduated from Indiana University with a BA in business administration, transportation management, having studied under the legendary transportation professor George Smerk.
He also holds an MBA and a postgraduate MBA Plus in transportation management from Wichita State University in Wichita, KS.
Michael Melaniphy, President and CEO of the American Public Transportation Association, laments the current efforts towards funding public transportation. He argues that not only are the amounts insufficient, but the piecemeal approach makes it difficult to plan for the future.