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Transportation secretary, senator to speak at conference.

Mary E. Peters, secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation and Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) are two of the keynote speakers at the upcoming Congressional City Conference being held in Washington, D.C., March 10-14.

Secretary Peters will address delegates at the afternoon general session on Monday, March 12, to share the department's 2007 agenda for the nation's transportation system. NLC's officers have identified the need for an intergovernmental partnership to develop strategies for the future of the funding and structure of the nation's transportation system as one of its top priorities for 2007.

Coleman, former mayor of St. Paul, Minn., and co-founder of the bipartisan Congressional Former Mayors Caucus, has served in the Senate since 2003. From campus organizing, to state prosecutor and Minnesota solicitor general, to mayor and now the Senate, Coleman has focused on issues of importance to local governments.

Peters, the 15th U.S. Secretary of Transportation, was nominated by President Bush last fall, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on September 30, 2006. She chairs the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission, created by Congress to examine future needs of the nation's surface transportation system and long-term financing of transportation programs. NLC will join with other state and local elected officials in testifying before the commission on March 19.

Peters formerly worked in the Arizona Department of Transportation from 1985 to 2001, working up through the ranks as a contract administrator, deputy director for administration, and deputy director. In 1998 she was appointed director of the agency and in 2001 President Bush asked her to lead the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

As FHWA administrator from 2001 to 2005, she placed special emphasis on finding new ways to invest in road and bridge construction, including innovative public-private partnerships aimed at helping build roads faster and at less expense. She also advocated the use of new technology to reduce construction time; save taxpayer money; and produce safer, longer-lasting roads and highways.

As secretary of transportation, Peters says she intends to use these same skills to tackle today's most pressing transportation challenges including fighting congestion across all modes of transportation, improving safety and addressing strains on traditional sources of transportation funding.

As a founding member of the Congressionai Former Mayors Caucus, Coleman stressed that "the practical nature of being a mayor--and the pragmatic attitude that leads to gctting things done--is something we could use more of in Washington."

"My experience as mayor of St. Paul helps me to strike a balance between local and federal priorities. Each former mayor in Congress shares one trait: knowing how to get things done, and creating this caucus is the prefect way to tap into that resource."

Founded in May 2006, the caucus serves as a forum to discuss critical issues impacting local governments, such as community development, affordable housing, homeland security, emergency preparedness, investment in infrastructure and urban renewal.

Among other assignments. Coleman serves on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, which oversees the budget and operations of the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA.

In addition to Peters and Coleman, news commentator David Gergen and political pundit George Stephanopoulos, will headline the conference.

The conference gets underway Saturday, March 10, with the Leadership Training Institute seminars, and will feature several workshops addressing the major federal issues expected to impact cities in the coming year. There will also be two opportunities on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning for city officials to visit Capitol Hill for lobbying.

Details: For more information on conference activities and to register, visit the Conferences and Events section of the NLC website at www.nlc.org.
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Author:Good, Latricia
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Feb 19, 2007
Words:606
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