Transportation leaders face myriad commercial, economic and political challenges. Our task is to figure out which are most important to manage so to enable our organizations and industry to thrive.
The gradual and modest economic recovery may take us into 2013 or 2014 with low growth and high unemployment. With increasing global regulations in just about every aspect of transportation — environmental, safety and security perhaps the most widely discussed — it is likely that we will see continued decline in consumer demand, limited new capital investments and greater operational costs. Each area will affect every sector of the transportation community. In each case, our job is to identify the regulation, assess its impact and offer alternatives that can meet public goals while minimizing its impact on business.
At the same time, the lack of consensus in Congress and elsewhere about how to fund long delayed surface transportation and aviation authorizing legislation will mean the focus of attention and responsibility must shift from Washington to state capitals and to regional and local leaders in the private and public sectors.
It is up to us in the transportation sector to change the nature of the dialogue to help the citizens who rely on our services to understand which investments are worth paying for and why. We have to act like an industry and work together to figure out how to take calculated, responsible risks that will benefit our users, our companies and our public partners. And we need to recognize that we are part of a larger community of interests that must be more responsible, making investments that will benefit our future generations while not continuing to contribute to fiscal irresponsibility.
Transparency, collaboration and pragmatism grounded in clearly articulated principles should be at the core of our efforts.