WASHINGTON, DC (May 18, 2021)—The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on May 13, 2021 formalizing their partnership to promote the advancement of minorities in transportation.
The MOU is the first step in a collaboration between AASHTO and COMTO to explore ways to promote the transportation and infrastructure sectors as a rewarding career choice for minorities. Victoria Sheehan, New Hampshire Department of Transportation Commissioner and AASHTO President, and Tara McDaniel, COMTO Interim President & CEO, signed the MOU at a virtual signing ceremony that took place during the AASHTO Spring Meeting.
“This MOU is another example of AASHTO’s commitment to collaborate closely with national, state and regional organizations focused on eliminating social, economic and racial barriers. Last November, the AASHTO Board of Directors unanimously passed a resolution vowing to address issues related to race, equity, diversity and inclusion—this MOU puts those words into action,” said Jim Tymon, AASHTO Executive Director.
In its policy resolution the AASHTO Board of Directors pledged to “Approach these efforts with humility, introspection and respect, being mindful of the importance of listening to and learning from those most adversely affected by past decisions. We understand that these measures depend on collaboration with all relevant stakeholders, including government, transportation partners and the communities we serve.”
“COMTO continues to expand upon its 50-year legacy of expanding opportunities for minorities in transportation by creating partnerships with organizations like AASHTO who are as dedicated as we are to diversity and equity in transportation,” said Tara McDaniel, COMTO Interim President & CEO. “Both of our organizations are leaders in the industry, and we look forward to aligning our resources for a more favorable outcome for minorities in transportation.”
The MOU will:
- Promote the advancement of minorities in transportation;
- Promote the transportation and infrastructure sectors as a rewarding career choice for minorities;
- Further the participation, advancement and recognition of minorities in the transportation infrastructure sector, both public and private;
- Provide professional development opportunities to help them advance their skill sets and careers to ensure the sector’s future success;
- Encourage their participation in organizational leadership activities at the national, state and local levels; and
- Cooperate with others who share these objectives to achieve them.
Recognizing the benefits of establishing an institutional arrangement to do the following:
- To increase member access to information, including business and career opportunities, in the respective fields of both organizations;
- To facilitate and expand the dissemination of that information to each other’s members;
To collaborate on topics of common interest and support diversity objectives that ensure a level playing field for training, education, employment and contract opportunities for minorities in the field of transportation; and
- To provide regular consultation among the leadership to review and assess programs and identify opportunities for coordinated efforts.
Therefore, COMTO and AASHTO agree to:
- Support each other in the development of programmatic content for their meetings and conferences, including identifying candidate speakers;
- Identify and collaborate on activities, such as conferences, workshops, webinars, meetings, local chapter activities and professional development opportunities;
- Publicize each other’s major conferences and meetings in their e-newsletters;
- Provide recognition as an allied organization at each other’s annual meetings;
- Exchange two complimentary registrations for leaders of each organization to participate in the other’s annual meetings.
AASHTO is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing highway and transportation departments in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. It represents all transportation modes including air, highways, public transportation, active transportation, rail and water. Its primary goal is to foster the development, operation and maintenance of an integrated national transportation system. Follow AASHTO On Twitter: www.twitter.com/aashtospeaks.
Founded in 1971, the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing minorities in the transportation industry. With 34 chapters in the U.S. and Canada, COMTO is driven by a mission to ensure opportunities and participation in transportation for minorities, veterans, people with disabilities and certified minority, women and disadvantaged business enterprises (MWDBEs) through leadership training, professional development, scholarship and internship funding, advocacy, partnership building and networking opportunities. In 2021, COMTO celebrates its 50th year of expanding opportunities for minorities in transportation as an organization. For more information, please visit www.comtonational.org.
Membership & Communications Manager, COMTO