Taking TDM to Congress
If you are a member of ACT, you likely heard of the DC Fly-In that took place on September 18-19, 2023. ACT members gathered from all over the country to learn about TDM, network, and share the importance of TDM strategies with members of Congress. Our program, GWRideConnect, serves commuters in the Fredericksburg, Virginia region, which houses many federal workers who commute to the District of Columbia for work. Of course, we had to participate!
Kim Mitchell and I took the VRE, our region's commuter rail, to Union Station in Washington, DC. From there we walked a few blocks to the U.S. Capitol complex. This is a routine commute for many of our clients, putting their perspective at the forefront of our minds.
The morning started at the Capitol with breakfast and informative panels to prepare the participants for the afternoon sessions. The first panel featured speakers who educated us on how state DOTs anticipate making use of federal programs to achieve TDM and climate goals. The second panel presented how TDM principles and strategies will help achieve decarbonization. The panels were a great warm-up for the afternoon sessions and provided us with detailed insight into TDM policy priorities.
The panels were followed by a press conference with Representatives Jake Auchincloss (MA-04) and Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), two congressmen who support using TDM strategies and principles to improve the quality of life for their constituents. The press conference can be viewed on ACT’s Facebook and details about the press conference and ACT’s Decarbonization Statement can be found on the website.
Our group of Virginia TDM associates then headed to the Dirksen Senate office building cafeteria for lunch and to prepare for our afternoon sessions. The congressional office buildings were buzzing with congressional staffers and other organizations meeting with their congressmen. Kim and I were assigned to visit with the office of Senator Tim Kaine (VA) with Felicia Woodruff of WCES, and an active member of the ACT Chesapeake Chapter. She was very professional and counseled us well. The meeting with Senator Kaine's office was productive, as well as the subsequent meetings with Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) and Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06). Having other ACT members there to guide and support us in these meetings eased any concerns that Kim and I had about our first experience with Congress. Overall, the message was successfully delivered and received.
This event was educational and empowering. GWRideConnect does not take our proximity to Washington, DC for granted, and we hope to have more opportunities to participate in our government at the Federal level in the future. Being part of the George Washington Regional Commission, a regional planning district, and having the ability to go to Capitol Hill is a unique attribute of this region. The Fly-in was an excellent event and is a great tool to provide TDM professionals with a well-rounded perspective of our industry.