The 2013 David R. Goode National Transportation Policy Conference
A Blueprint for Presidential Leadership
The Miller Center convened its third David R. Goode National Transportation Policy Conference, “A Blueprint for Presidential Leadership,” in Washington, DC on April 29, 2013. Since 2009, the Goode Conference has devoted significant time and attention to developing practical, bipartisan solutions to our country’s transportation and infrastructure needs.
This year’s conference brought together policymakers, scholars, and leaders of business and industry to examine the role of the president in articulating and advocating a national transportation vision. Sessions focused on whether or not comprehensive change is possible without presidential leadership, the prospects for policy reform in today’s political environment, successes and challenges faced by past presidents, and pathways for progress in President Obama’s second term.
The conference featured two academic sessions, a three-hour special oral history featuring six former U.S. Transportation Secretaries—Jim Burnley, Sam Skinner, Andrew Card, Rodney Slater, Norman Mineta, and Mary Peters—and a keynote conversation with Jim Oberstar, former member of Congress and former chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Gerald L. Baliles, the Miller Center’s Director and CEO and a former Governor of Virginia.
Additional information about the conference and recommendations stemming from those discussions will be publicized as they are finalized. Please contact Juliana Bush if you would like additional information about the this or any of our prior Goode Conferences.
Media Contact: Kristy Schantz
The Miller Center released a report proposing practical, actionable ways to sell the American public on the need to invest in the nation’s transportation infrastructure in 2011. With the nation’s roads in disrepair, projects for the future sidelined, the Highway Trust Fund needing chronic bail-outs, and Congress unable to agree on a solution, the report aims to raise public awareness about an issue that greatly affects the U.S. economy.
“There is a lack of confidence and trust in the ability of policymakers to make good decisions in transportation policy and planning. And without a mandate from a broader public, most policymakers don’t want to risk reforming the current system in a political landscape fraught with many other challenges and competing demands,” said former Transportation Secretaries Norman Mineta and Samuel Skinner, co-chairs of the Miller Center’s David R. Goode National Transportation Policy Conference on which the report is based.
The report, titled “Are We There Yet? Selling America on Transportation” recommends a detailed communications strategy to draw attention to the nation’s transportation challenges, including messages that would be compelling to a broad audience. There are four key elements:
- A positive, forward-looking tone that frames the transportation debate around issues of economic growth, jobs, U.S. competitiveness, combined with quality of life.
- A well-defined but flexible campaign plan that is keyed to the rhythms of an election year and to important events in the transportation calendar.
- A focus on building broader engagement through effective, targeted use of traditional media and social media.
- A concerted effort to link local transportation investment opportunities and benefits to national-level policy decisions.
The report is based on a two-day conference organized by the Miller Center where more than 60 transportation experts—including five former U.S. transportation secretaries—strategized about effective transportation messaging. Video of those conference sessions can be found here.
The inaugural David R. Goode National Transportation Policy Conference gathered 80 recognized transportation experts to facilitate original and necessary thinking about the financing, governance, and management of America’s transportation infrastructure. Released in 2010, the conference report titled "Well Within Reach: America’s New Transportation Agenda" provides a credible agenda to guide the legislative process and offers lasting value to the discussion of the future of our transportation systems. The report’s recommendations were praised by transportation experts and policymakers, including President Obama who requested a briefing with Conference Co-Chairs Norman Mineta and Samuel Skinner and praised the report publicly in a October 2010 Rose Garden ceremony.