The board of directors and CEO of Rail~Volution have decided to move the 2018 conference from Charlotte, North Carolina, because of HB2, a law that eliminates anti-discrimination protections for gay and transgender people.
“Our success depends on the ability to bring leaders together across a diversity of backgrounds, to share their knowledge and spark new approaches to transportation planning and community development,” said Dan Bartholomay, CEO of Rail~Volution. “While we are very supportive of efforts by the City of Charlotte to expand transit options and foster inclusivity, we cannot support North Carolina’s HB2 law, which discriminates against the LGBT community.”
The decision to cancel plans for a conference in Charlotte in 2018 comes with a cost of over $100,000 to the nonprofit organization.
Rail~Volution administers a learning network and for more than twenty years has produced a highly-regarded conference focused on understanding and promoting best practices for implementing transit and transit-oriented development to create more livable communities. The annual Rail~Volution conference brings together regional and national stakeholders from all levels of the public and private sectors, including community leaders, city planners, elected officials, actvists, developers, transit operators, engineers, architects and housing advocates. The conference and learning network foster interdisciplinary and cross-sector collaboration, including developing new, effective approaches to multimodal transportation planning and community development.
The North Carolina law, HB2, prevents cities from expanding on the state’s discrimination laws. According to the Charlotte Observer, several cities had tried to do so, including Charlotte, Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Durham.
“We are very supportive of efforts by the City of Charlotte to strengthen transit and improve livability for their residents. We’re also proud that Charlotte continues to be a Rail~Volution partner,” Bartholomay said.
This year’s Rail~Volution conference will be in Denver, September 17-20, 2017. The 24th annual conference in 2018 will be held in Pittsburgh, PA.