Just hours after Bay Area Council CEO @JimWunderman on Wednesday (July 22) tweeted to Congressional leaders asking about the possibility of achieving a 2015 federal highway funding bill, the Senate voted to begin debate on that very question. Coincidence? Perhaps. But, the Bay Area Council will continue pressing the question next week when Wunderman, Bay Area Council Chair Michael Covarrubias of TMG Partners and Government Relations Committee Co-Chair Peter Brightbill of Wells Fargo lead a member delegation to D.C., for three days of high-level meetings on a range of issues important to the Bay Area business community. The federal highway fund, which provides hundreds of millions of dollars for Bay Area transportation, has become a political football in a messy scrum among the House, Senate and White House.

Delegates led by Transportation Committee Co-Chairs Rosemary Turner of UPS and John Eddy of Arup will meet with U.S. Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Victor Mendez, who is responsible for day-to-day operations of 10 DOT agencies and their more than 55,000 employees nationwide, and acting Federal Transit Administrator Therese McMillan. The federal highway fund, which is set to expire July 31, will be among the hot topics of those meetings and talks with Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Sen. Tom Carper and top staff of key House representatives.

California’s historic drought will be a main focus of our meeting with Sen. Feinstein, who is seen as the lynchpin to achieving federal water legislation that for more than a year has been hampered by partisan bickering and stakeholder disagreements. We’ll discuss new legislation Feinstein is developing and also meet separately with Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) on a bill he has introduced in the House.

Delegates will also sit down with Jason Goldman, White House Chief Digital Officer, and Michael Daniel, White House Cybersecurity Coordinator, to discuss the growing threat of cybersecurity breaches and strategies for addressing them. And, the group will meet with U.S. Ambassador and Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Robert Holleyman to talk about the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, for which the Bay Area Council has been a strong advocate, and U.S. trade relations with China and India. To engage in the Council’s federal policy work, contact Senior Advisor George Broder.

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