New APTA chairperson Dr. Beverly A. Scott introduced the general session panel of speakers, which included Senator Barbara Boxer as the keynote speaker, and featured Warren George, international president, Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), and Bruce Hamilton, deputy executive director of The Sierra Club.
Senator Boxer discussed her work on a new congressional transportation bill and reauthorization, as well as the need for public transit in the current economy.
"We've got to get back to building things here in America that are real, not an economy on paper. We have to be able to move people and to move goods," said Boxer. She noted that Dallas Area Rapid Transit generated more than $4 billion in economic development. "When you bring transit to a community, it's a big plus. You're in the business of economic development and fighting global warming," she added.
George discussed how organized labor can play a part in supporting public transportation, and the Transportation Workforce Bill recently drafted by the ATU.
Hamilton shared the highlights of The Sierra Club's plan to reach an 80 percent green house gas reduction by 2050, by breaking the goal down into a "2 percent solution", and the Cool Cities Initiative.