Regulations

NJ Group Forges Key Alliance To Boost Industry Interests

Posted on September 28, 2011
LANJ executive director Barry Lefkowitz was named this month lobbyist for the International Association of Transportation Regulators.

LANJ executive director Barry Lefkowitz was named this month lobbyist for the International Association of Transportation Regulators.

LANJ executive director Barry Lefkowitz was named this month lobbyist for the International Association of Transportation Regulators.
LANJ executive director Barry Lefkowitz was named this month lobbyist for the International Association of Transportation Regulators.

LUMBERTON, N.J. — Operators and regulators often tend to be at odds over ground transportation rules, but when the two sides work together, a lot can get done.

That’s the intent behind a working arrangement that has developed between the influential Limousine Associations of New Jersey and the International Association of Transportation Regulators. And as is often the case in business, government and politics, the dynamics and results come down to professional relationships.

In this situation, the key connections work like this:

  • Barry Lefkowitz, the LANJ executive director and its state-level lobbyist, this month was named the Washington, D.C. lobbyist for IATR. Lefkowitz was the D.C. lobbyist for the National Limousine Association from 1998-2009. He is also head of Management and Government Resources Inc., a New Jersey-based lobbying and consulting firm, and he sits on the New Jersey Passenger Transportation Advisory Council.
  • Matt Daus, a transportation industry attorney just named partner at the New York-based law firm of Windels, Lane, Marx & Mittendorf, is the president of the IATR, the general counsel to LANJ, and the former Commissioner of the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission.

So, the chief advocate for easing and simplifying regulations for chauffeured transportation operators now has a solid link to a major influencer of legislation related to transportation regulations. Between the two, they have extensive experience with at least three associations, one regulatory governing body, one advisory council, and two private firms.

Transportation attorney and former NYTLC Commissioner Matt Daus works closely with LANJ as its general counsel. He was promoted this week to partner at Windels, Marx, Lane & Mittendorf law firm in New York.
Transportation attorney and former NYTLC Commissioner Matt Daus works closely with LANJ as its general counsel. He was promoted this week to partner at Windels, Marx, Lane & Mittendorf law firm in New York.

Such a combination can help put key industry issues and concern on the front burner of the legislative process. And in the chauffeured transportation industry, what often starts and happens in the limousine industry nexus of New Jersey/New York tends to roll across other states and associations.

“One of the things I’ve emphasized as a new industry lobbyist is the importance of them working with the [limousine] industry hand in hand,” Lefkowitz told LCT. “LANJ agrees that my being a lobbyist in D.C. strengthens the industry position. I bring a perspective as someone who has been representing the industry for 14 years. By knowing what’s going on, I am able to help the industry.”

One issue where Lefkowitz and Daus can provide some help is the RIDE Act Amendment, which has been a flagship effort of the NLA for about the last five years. While the amendment has had a roster of bi-partisan Congressional sponsors at various times, it has gotten caught up in Washington, D.C. gridlock and partisan electoral upheavals of 2006, 2008 and 2010. Passage of the RIDE Act Amendment would be a major coup for limousine operators nationwide, as it would free many of them from cumbersome and costly fees, rules, and discriminatory ground transportation policies at many airports, ports, and other federally-connected facilities.

“With Matt Daus as president of IATR, we’ve spoken about being able to help the NLA, and the TLPA (Taxi Limousine Paratransit Assocation) with the RIDE Act Amendment language,” Lefkowitz said. “We’re in an interesting position.”

The Real Interstate Driver's Equity Act — passed in 2002 — prohibited airports from charging fees for pre-arranged ground transportation involved in interstate commerce, meaning that its regulatory provisions superseded those of state and local political subdivisions and protected operators from unreasonable fees and levies. But many airport and port authorities have levied all types of fees anyway, such as looping and AVI/transponder fees, on livery service whether it is interstate or intrastate, thereby violating the intent of the Act. The RIDE Act amendments being sought aim to address the fee issue. The NLA has tried to get the Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration to remind local airport/port bodies that charging fees to single out livery and limousine service violates the federal law.

Lefkowitz was scheduled to meet Wednesday at 6 p.m. EDT with Rep. Frank. A. LoBiondo, R-N.J., Second District, and the sixth-ranking member on the House Transportation Committee. The pair will discuss RIDE Act Amendment language and other transportation related issues of interest to LANJ members and New Jersey operators. With Republicans in control of the House since January, Lefkowitz stressed the importance of getting a new Republican co-sponsor of the RIDE Act Amendment.

“We’ll certainly try and assist in any way that we can to help provide some momentum and work with (the NLA) and the TLPA,” he said. “We need to sit down and discuss legislation as a whole and make sure everyone is comfortable with the way the language speaks now.”

The original RIDE Act, passed by Congress and signed by President George W. Bush in 2002, also had to wind its way through a divided government in D.C., Lefkowitz said, which at that time consisted of a Republican President, a thin majority of Republicans in the House, and a Democratic-controlled Senate by 51-49. The impetus for the RIDE Act originated in New Jersey and was broadened into a national coalition with the NLA, Lefkowitz said.

The LANJ/IATR relationship draws upon a strong precedent of LANJ working closely with regulators at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which governs the nation’s busiest airport systems that includes JFK International, LaGuardia, Newark Liberty, and Teterboro. Those airports, along with marine, rail, and bus terminals in the New York metro region, provide a major slice of business for the chauffeured transportation industry. LANJ was able to effectively work with the Port Authority leaders to minimize fees and get a free staging area for chauffeured vehicles, Lefkowitz said.

“We always took the high road and recognized the importance of working with the regulators.”

— Martin Romjue, LCT editor

Related Topics: Barry Lefkowitz, industry regulations, LANJ, legislation, Matt Daus, National Limousine Association, New Jersey operators, RIDE Act

Comments ( 0 )
More Stories
(LCT image)
Article

How To Keep Up With Labor Laws

SEPT. LCT: Complying with labor laws meant to protect employees gets tough since drivers can’t pull over and take a 30-minute break.