MNTRC Newsletter Vol. 21, Issue 3: Winter 2014-2015

MTI hosts Secretary of Transportation summit

Karen E. Philbrick, PhD, Executive Director

Person holding sign: "Share a ride or bust."

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx at a roundtable hosted by MTI. From left: MTI Executive Director Dr. Karen Philbrick, US Under Secretary for Policy Peter Rogoff, Secretary Foxx, and retired Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta.

On February 2, US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx presided over a roundtable policy discussion at MTI and introduced Beyond Traffic: Trends and Choices, the US Department of Transportation’s newly released 30-year framework for the future.

He was joined by retired Secretary Norman Mineta, Under Secretary for Policy Peter Rogoff, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, State Senate Transportation Committee Chair Jim Beall, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, San Jose State University President Mo Qayoumi, and state and local highway and transit planners and operators.

“This is not an action plan,” said Secretary Foxx. “It is a catalyst for public conversation about mobility issues and how we can best solve them.”

At the Secretary’s invitation, attendees offered their insights about current and future transportation issues and how to solve them. He challenged the group to become agents for change, but in an innovative way, noting that the US has typically led other nations with creative solutions. And yet this nation seems to be falling behind with increasing gridlock on its roadways.

The attendees offered several insights about social justice issues, transportation funding, the need for high-speed rail, how traffic congestion affects housing and jobs, how to leverage Silicon Valley technology to benefit transportation, ways to increase multi-modal options, how climate change is affecting transportation infrastructure, and more.

In addition to those named above, the group included California Secretary of Transportation Brian Kelly, Caltrans Director Malcolm Doughtery, MTC Executive Director Steve Heminger, VTA CEO Nuria Fernandez, BART General Manager Grace Crunican, Board of Supervisor President Dave Cortese, VTA Chair Perry Woodward, CHSRA Board Vice Chair Jim Hartnett, VTA Vice Chair Supervisor Cindy Chavez, San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce President Sean Cottle, MTI Emeritus Executive Director Rod Diridon, South Bay Labor Council AFL-CIO Executive Officer Ben Field, Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino, WMH Management Team President William Hadaya, Empire Broadcasting Corporation President and CEO Robert Kieve, California FHWA Administrator Vince Mammano, and MTI Executive Director Karen Philbrick..

Before the MTI meeting, the Secretary visited Autodesk. After the meeting, he paid a visit to Google, where he and Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt discussed mobility challenges and opportunities in a Virtual Fireside Chat that was conducted before a live audience and streamed live to the Web.

A few days later, the Secretary wrote in the US DOT blog, Fast Lane that Autodesk and MTI are “the kind of innovators we will need to engage with if we’re going to face the challenges we expect in the next three decades.” He continued, “The Mineta Center has done a lot of work in the challenges facing our transportation workforce, and yesterday the Center offered to focus on those topics as part of the public feedback we’re soliciting for ‘Beyond Traffic.’”