A good public transit system is good for business. TANK relies upon the business community to help deliver this message. The business coalition includes many of the region’s major employers and those employers whose work force needs are inextricably linked to transit. This group can speak directly to legislators from their perspective on how important transit is to their business and for long-term employee retention and recruitment. Like most legislators these days, our representatives are focused on jobs. This coalition is critical to not only telling the story, but to ensure that someone will listen.
Personal Relationships with Elected Officials
The last piece of our strategy is to maintain personal relationships with our elected officials at the local, state and federal levels. Part of developing an effective legislative strategy is taking the time to listen to the wants, needs and concerns of our elected officials. We often want legislators to fix our problems but fail to understand their challenges and constraints in doing so. Finding time to meet with elected officials is not always easy to do, but the benefits are well worth the effort.
This strategy requires that we pay regular attention to the four components above. Then, when the opportunity presents itself for acute legislative action (e.g. funding decisions, statute changes, etc.), we can call on these components to speak at the same time and with a consistent message.
From federal transportation reauthorization to fuel prices to local ballot measures, almost every transit system will find a need to communicate swiftly and effectively with legislators in the coming months. By laying the groundwork well in advance, we will greatly increase our chances to succeed.