Spring Conference Recap

Speaking at the first of two luncheons in last week’s AAPA 2018 Spring Conference in Washington, D.C., (March 20-22), was Paul Bingham, director of San Marino, CA-based Hackett Associates, providing a keynote address on his world economic and trade policy outlook, while Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX), the recipient of AAPA’s 2018 Port Person of the Year award, opened the program’s second day with a talk focusing on the vital significance of America’s ports. Also speaking on the second day was USDOT Deputy Maritime Administrator Richard Balzano, who focused on MARAD’s mission in relation to ports, together with its Marine Highways program.
Canada’s ambassador to the United States, the Honorable David MacNaughton, made headlines on the afternoon of the first day of the program with his remarks on progress being made with the U.S. on NAFTA talks. Also focusing on trade issues, with the purpose of separating reality from perceptions, was a panel of industry experts who included Pew Research Center’s Global Economic Attitudes Director Bruce Stokes, Toyota Motor North America International Trade Policy Director Yuri Unno, U.S. Fashion Industry President Julia Hughes and Farmers for Free Trade Executive Director Brian Kuehl.
While unable to give his luncheon presentation in person, House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Chairman Garret Graves (R-LA) appeared via video so he could stay in the Capitol to cast votes on pending legislation. 
Other aspects of the conference included a session, "The Future of the Workforce," that featured Pamela Bowell, vice president for the American Public Transportation Association’s Workforce Development and Educational Services; Thomas Downs, principal of Downs Government Affairs; Alexander Bond, Eno Center for Transportation’s Center for Transportation Leadership director; and Barbara Murray, executive director of TransPORTs, a U.S. Department of Labor National Apprenticeship Program participant.  The final two panels, "Congressional Views on Water Resources Development Act" and "Infrastructure Legislation and Infrastructure Proposals from Industry Partners," included staff for Congressional members who sit on vital House and Senate Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittees, and key executives for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Trucking Associations and American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO). 
Also making news during the Spring Conference was the election of Port of Cleveland President and CEO William Friedman to serve as AAPA’s chairman of the board for the 2018-19 activity year that begins in October, and approval by AAPA’s Legislative Policy Committee to support a position on raising the gas and diesel tax to help pay for crucial port-related infrastructure. 
The final day of this year’s Spring Conference was punctuated by 15 meetings with key Congressional and Administration leaders and staff officials to advocate for U.S. port policy and funding issues. 
To view the presentations from the 2017 Spring Conference, click here.