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OPENING PLENARY SESSION Transportation Priorities Mapping a Course for the Future Kay McKinley, PBS&J (Moderator) Sherri LeBas, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Mark Norman, Transportation Research Board Jane Garvey, Meridiam Infrastructure Victor Mendez, Federal Highway Administration Welcome and Perspectives $430 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding to support road safety. She indicated that Kay McKinley, PBS&J, the conference chair, served as DOTD's Transportation Infrastructure Model for Eco- the moderator of the opening session. She welcomed par- nomic Development program has involved bonding a ticipants to the Transportation Research Board's (TRB's) 4-cent sales tax to accelerate an aggressive 20-year pro- Fourth International Transportation Finance Confer- gram of highway widening and bridge and port access ence and thanked the Federal Highway Administration improvements. Since 2007, Louisiana has invested more (FHWA), the Federal Transit Administration, the Loui- than $1.0 billion of its state surplus in transportation siana Department of Transportation and Development needs. DOTD's LA-1 improvement project is using (DOTD), the American Association of State Highway innovative financing tools to improve roadway access to and Transportation Officials, the American Public Trans- marine facilities servicing 18 percent of the U.S. petro- portation Association, the Galvin Mobility Project, the leum supply, and the department is the possible user National Transportation Center at Morgan State Univer- of publicprivate partnerships (P3s) on its I-10 Lake sity, and the University of Iowa's Public Policy Center Charles and I-49 South improvement projects. for their patronage and support of the conference. Ms. Mark Norman, Director of TRB's Technical Activities McKinley recognized the contributions of the organizing Division, welcomed conference participants to New Orleans. committee in bringing this event to fruition. She noted the Looking back to 1997, when the first TRB transportation excellent workshops and the poster session that had taken finance conference was held (Transportation Finance for place the previous day and acknowledged the participa- the 21st Century), he recalled that transportation agencies tion of the experts from the public and private sectors were finishing up the last of their Intermodal Surface Trans- who had assembled to discuss current developments and portation Efficiency Act (the federal surface transportation trends in the transportation finance sector. Ms. McKinley bill that was funded at $121 billion) money. On the finan- concluded her welcome remarks and invited Sherri LeBas cial front, it was a roller coaster of a year. The Dow Jones of Louisiana DOTD to the podium. Industrial Average closed above 7,000 points for the first Sherri LeBas, Interim Secretary of the Louisiana time in U.S. history and by July had doubled in value over DOTD, welcomed conference participants to New the previous 30 months. Just 3 months later, stock markets Orleans and stated that her organization was proud of around the world crashed because of investors' fears of a its history of innovative procurement, including the use global economic crisis. The Dow Jones Industrial Average of designbuild contracts and the development of new followed suit and plummeted for a point loss exceeding that materials. Ms. LeBas cited a number of DOTD's recent of 1987's Black Monday. For the first time, officials at the accomplishments, including creation of economic devel- New York Stock Exchange invoked the "circuit breaker" opment zones and evacuation routes and the securing of rule to stop trading. 13