2020 NGA Transportation Policy Institute

Virtual Meeting | Jul 14-17, 2020

The National Governors Association’s (NGA) annual Governors’ Advisors Transportation Policy Institute is a unique event that brings together governors’ transportation policy staff to share their state’s policy solutions, participate in peer-to-peer exchanges, hear from national experts, and discuss a broad array of timely transportation policy topics with subject matter experts. Topics that will be covered and supported by subject matter experts during this year’s institute will include: how COVID-19 is effecting transportation systems, maximizing overlapping policy priorities, strategies for reducing congestion, and disaster mitigation and resilience.


Tuesday | July 14, 2020, 1:00 – 3:00 PM ET

1:00 – 1:15 PM Introduction to the Transportation Policy Institute
NGA staff will introduce the meeting, provide a brief overview of recent products and updates on NGA activities, and frame the discussion agenda and activities for the week.


  • Dan Lauf, Interim Director, Energy, Infrastructure & Environment, National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center)
  • Jake Varn, Policy Analyst, NGA Center

1:15 – 2:00 PM State Roundtable and Policy Updates
State representatives will introduce themselves. In 2-3 minutes per state, one representative from each state will be asked to provide updates from the past year, focused on the following three questions:

  • What is one of your state’s top transportation successes in the past year?
  • How is COVID-19 impacting your governor’s transportation priorities?
  • What is one transportation challenge you anticipate your state facing in 2021?

2:00 – 3:00 PM State Transit Strategies and Best Practices During COVID-19
States are adapting their transit system operations in response to COVID-19, with new public health measures and budgetary considerations. This session will collect the best practices that are being deployed to make transit safer, while maintaining essential transportation services.

Wednesday | July 15, 2020, 3:00 – 5:00 PM ET

3:00 – 3:15 PM Intro and Explanation of Breakout Groups
In the following sessions, participants will have opportunities to explore the intersections between transportation and other key areas of state policy. For each topic, following brief introductory remarks from a national expert, participants will be divided into smaller groups to discuss how state transportation priorities overlap with other timely policy areas and how governance structures can help break down siloes and build bridges.

3:15 – 3:45 PM Intersection of Public Health & Transportation
From air quality and roadway fatalities to pandemics and access to health services, the direct and indirect implications of transportation policies are powerful social determinants of health. Speakers will discuss the recent trends in roadway safety and how transportation policy can be leveraged as a tool for improving public health.


  • Leslie Meehan, Director of the Office of Primary Prevention, Tennessee Department of Health
  • Renee Autumn Ray, Strategy and Innovation Leader, Conduent Transportation

3:45 – 4:15 PM Intersection of Education & Transportation
Education and transportation priorities are frequently the top two issues within Governor’s offices and in state budgets. However, these two vital issues should not be viewed as competing interests or operate in siloes. The missions and objectives, while unique to education and transportation sectors, are more alike than they may seem. From increasing public safety and student health to reducing emissions and congestion, the Venn diagram of state education and transportation priorities are full of overlapping opportunities for interagency collaboration.

4:15 – 4:45 PM Intersection of Broadband & Transportation
Governors’ goals of expanding broadband access can benefit from improved coordination with state transportation plans. Policy changes, such as “Dig Once,” can allow states to coordinate the repair and construction of transportation assets while granting conduit access to providers for laying fiber. Future implications of connected vehicles and smart infrastructure will require further collaboration between these two sectors.

  • Speaker: Lynne Yocom, Fiber Optics Manager, Utah Department of Transportation

Thursday | July 16, 2020, 1:00 – 3:00 PM ET

1:00 – 2:00 PM Avoiding the COVID-19 Impacts on Traffic Congestion
Reducing congestion has been a longstanding mission of transportation officials. However, the shutdowns and shift to teleworking brought on by COVID-19 have at least temporarily reduced travel across the board. Early data has shown a quicker rebound in vehicle travel than travel via public transit, sparking concerns of a future of increased traffic congestion. As states “reopen,” new planning will be required to navigate new travel behaviors. Experts and states will analyze the efficacy of past congestionreducing efforts and discuss strategies to respond to this new crisis.


  • Adie Tomer, Fellow, Brookings Institute
  • Beth Osborne, Director, Transportation for America
  • Brianne Eby, Senior Policy Analyst, Eno Center
  • Moderator: Jake Varn, NGA Center

2:00 – 3:00 PM Interagency Coordination to Support Transportation Electrification
Electric vehicles sit at a critical intersection of state policymakers, involving the Governors’ office, transportation agencies, energy offices, utility regulators and intergovernmental and private sector partners. As governors continue to establish ambitious transportation electrification goals and expand charging infrastructure, questions remain about the most effective strategies to meet those objectives and electrify transportation. In this session, experts will discuss the innovative policy solutions allowing states to electrify an increasing share of transportation.


  • Chris Nelder, Manager, Rocky Mountain Institute
  • Dr. Will Toor, Executive Director, Colorado Energy Office

Moderator: Dan Lauf, NGA Center

Friday | July 17, 2020, 1:00 – 3:30 PM ET

1:00 – 2:00 PM Emergency Response, Mitigation, and Transportation Resilience
The increasing severity and occurrence of disasters not only requires more resilient infrastructure, but also more resilient policies. Emergency response in 2020 will be complicated by an ongoing pandemic that is straining resources and personnel. In this session, experts and participants will discuss the latest innovative practices that governors can utilize to improve the resilience of transportation systems to mitigate the effects of a wide variety of disasters.


  • Laura Lightbody, Project Director, Flood-Prepared Communities, Pew Charitable Trusts
  • Dr. Shawn Wilson, Secretary of Louisiana Department of Transportation
  • Moderator: Dan Lauf, NGA Center

2:00 – 3:00 PM Federal Developments and Opportunities for Funding and Financing
The federal-state partnership is a bedrock of infrastructure planning and funding. In this session, participants will hear from experts on the latest federal developments and the new resources available to assist states.


  • Susan Howard, Program Director for Transportation Finance and Director of the BATIC Institute, AASHTO
  • Neil Ohlhausen Legislative Associate, National Governors Association
  • Andy Winkler, Associate Director of Infrastructure, Bipartisan Policy Center
  • Moderator: Jake Varn, NGA Center

3:00 – 3:30 PM Closing Remarks and Final Thoughts
State participants will have the opportunity to reflect on the policy institute, provide feedback, and suggest topics that should be covered in future NGA events, research, and technical assistance opportunities. NGA staff will close out the Transportation Policy Institute and provide updates for upcoming projects and opportunities.