With the the massive surface transportation reauthorization bill expected to be carved up this summer, lobbyists are eagerly lining up for their fair share.
“It’s all about how much money will be in the program and how you slice it up,” said John Faso, former Minority Leader for the New York state Assembly.
Faso, who is now a lobbyist with
Mannatt, Phelps & Phillips, is a Republican who represented an Albany-area district for 16 years. He joined Manatt’s Albany office in January.
Faso said it is difficult right now to forecast the timeline of the reauthorization debate. He is representing the interests of New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority — which oversees the city’s subways, buses and the MetroNorth and Long Island commuter railroads — for the state of New York.
In years past, the highway and public transportation lobbies were at odds, accusing one another of trying to steer funds away from each other’s interests. But some people in the industry insist that those days are over.
“If we all chip in together, we’re likely to get a larger pie. The adversarial days are over,” said Amy Coggin, director of communications at the American Public Transportation Association, which has about five registered in-house lobbyists working Capitol Hill. “When the two sides were battling, we were coming up short on both ends.”
Coggin said APTA, whose membership includes a large number of local public transportation authorities across the country, represents its members on a “macro” level and doesn’t delve into individual projects of its members. That’s why shops like Mannatt, Phelps & Phillips swoop in on individual interests.
While organizations have been working on reauthorization efforts since TEA-21 went into effect five years ago, Coggin said APTA and many other individual interests have been recently stepping up their efforts as TEA-21’s expiration date draws nearer.
According to recent filings reported to the Clerk of the House and Secretary of the Senate, culled by PoliticalMoneyLine.com, here is a sampling of the lobbyists who have signed up new transportation clients:
Covington & Burling has signed on the Ports-to-Plains Trade Corridor Coalition, a group advocating improving highway links between Denver and Mexico through west Texas.
Griffin, Johnson, Dover & Stewart has added the IBI Group to their roster of clients, lobbying on working to get money appropriated for an initial segment for a magnetic levitation train. IBI specializes in research and planning for transportation and facilities development.
Maglev train corridors have been floated for many potential areas across the country, but Maglev proposals in the Baltimore-Washington region and Pittsburgh area would be the most likely to get funding, according to transportation lobbying sources.
Another transit agency interested in reauthorization is Austin, Texas’ Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority. They have hired Bracewell & Patterson to represent their interests on Capitol Hill.
Lionel Sawyer & Collins is representing the city of Boulder, Colo.
The Accord Group, which specializes in environmental issues, is lobbying for the Nature Conservancy, which is advocating for the greater use of comprehensive mapping techniques in the transportation planning process in order to preserve natural areas.
Indianapolis-based Ice Miller, the largest law firm in the Hoosier State’s capital, is representing Indiana’s Harrison County in getting authorization and funding for a new interchange on Interstate 64.
Another county looking out for its transportation interests on the Hill is San Bernardino in California. It has brought on Michael Pieper & Associates to represent the county, one of the fastest growing jurisdictions in the nation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Here are some other recent filings of new clients on K Street, according to PoliticalMoneyLine.com:
The Capitol Hill Consulting Group has signed on the Edison Electric Institute, the DC-based association of publicly held electric companies. The lobbying shop plans to represent EEI on general energy issues.
DCI Group has added the National Association of Business PACs to its client roster. DCI will represent the interests of the National Association of Business PACs on issues related to legislation and administrative rulemaking to the amending of the Federal Election Campaign Act and other federal election financing issues.
DCI will also represent telecommunications giant AT&T on Indian and land trust issues.
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld is representing the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of WorldCom, which represents the interests of unsecured creditors of the fallen telecommunications giant.