Millar: ‘This is as big as the APTA EXPO will ever be’
Preliminary numbers by APTA officials show nearly 15,000 attendees with over 6,300 exhibitors attended this week’s APTA EXPO at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Billed as the largest public transportation exhibition in the world, the American Public Transportation Association Triennial 2011 APTA Annual Meeting and EXPO filled out more than 280,000 square feet of convention center floor. Attendees visited the booths and stands of 770 public transit OEMs, vendors and suppliers.
“While I will be stepping down as president and CEO of APTA as of November 1, I can say at this time, and our board members agree, that this is as big as the APTA EXPO will ever be,” said out-going president Bill Millar, in his final media luncheon during the annual meeting. “An event any larger than these seven convention center halls can hold would simply become unmanageable and too overwhelming for our attendees to assimilate and enjoy.”
On Monday, New Orleans Mayor Mitchell J. Landrieu addressed those at the EXPO Annual Meeting to kick off the event. Mayor Landrieu addressed the challenges of public transit, calling on attendees to keep pushing for more investment money to help save public transit and promote more job growth. At the same time Landrieu compared public transit’s challenges to those of The Big Easy, joking that a city that has experienced Hurricane Katrina, a national recession, the BP oil spill and a tourism drop is now “waiting for the locusts.”
During the meeting incoming APTA President and CEO Michael P. Melaniphy spoke to the gathering. Secretary Ray LaHood issued a taped address.
– Glenn Swain