Know Your Transportation Lobbyists: Transit Beats Roads — Sort Of
Transportation lobbying is a complicated universe, in which multi-issue environmental groups can be as active as organizations that exist only to influence infrastructure decision-making.
But to shed some more light on a cast of characters that Streetsblog Capitol Hill began introducing last month, it’s worth exploring who represents Washington’s two largest transportation players and how much those groups have spent this year.
The American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials, or AASHTO, is the road lobby’s leading voice, reporting more than $53 million in annual revenue on its most recent publicly available Internal Revenue Service (IRS) filing.
With a membership of state-level public officials, AASHTO does not employ in-house lobbyists but contracts out with several firms, spending $270,000 in the first half of this year, according to congressional disclosures.
AASHTO’s team includes Jack Schenendorf of Covington & Burling, a former chief of staff on the House transportation committee who advised the Bush administration’s DOT transition team in 2001, and Brett Thompson of the International Government Relations Group, a firm run by his former boss, ex-Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO).
The other lobbyists reporting work for AASHTO this year are William Malley of Perkins Coie, whose experience lies in environmental review of infrastructure projects, and Kathy Ruffalo-Farnsworth, a veteran staffer for members of both parties who helped craft the 2005 federal transportation bill before Congress appointed her to serve on a high-profile commission that examined the system’s financing challenges.
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA), which represents local transit agencies as well as companies involved in transit networks, reported $21 million in annual revenue in its most recent IRS filing.
APTA spent $720,000 on in-house lobbying during the first half of this year, according to its congressional disclosures — more than double the amount AASHTO spent on outside consultants.
APTA also reported one outside contract with Ruffalo-Farnsworth and another with Clyburn Consulting, a firm led by William Clyburn Jr., former vice chairman of the national Surface Transportation Board and the cousin of House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC).