DC dealers help to host Senate hearings during auto show


Dealers and lawmakers recently found another way to gather in the shadow of Capitol Hill.

Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia and the Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Association (WANADA) welcomed the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation along with the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources during the 2018 Washington Auto Show at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

On Jan. 24, the committee hearings met inside the convention center to discuss automotive innovation and energy technologies, and it was the first field hearing held within the District of Columbia.

“Washington, D.C. has been actively engaged in exploring transportation, automotive and energy technology, such as autonomous vehicles for instance, as a critical part of planning for future population growth and accommodating a record number of visitors to our city,” said deputy mayor of planning and economic Brian Kenner.

“Field hearings, like this — and its outcomes — are vital to the future growth of environmental innovation and planning within the D.C. region’s auto industry,” Kenner continued.

During the Washington Auto Show, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, led by South Dakota Sen. John Thune, discussed the development of autonomous technologies in the automobile industry.

The hearing, titled “Driving Automotive Innovation and Federal Policies,” examined the need to develop a regulatory framework that would support the research and development of new innovations for the driverless vehicle industry.

Officials believe vehicles are paving the way for innovation as self-driving cars are confronting industry needs for enhanced safety, reliability, advanced technology and additional accessibility opportunities.

“With Washington, D.C. thriving as the ‘Capital of Inclusive Innovation,’ Events DC remains focused on elevating the client and attendee experience through collaborative efforts, like this, on future-forward initiatives that benefit the District of Columbia and its growing technology sector,” said Greg O’Dell, president and chief operating officer of Events DC. 

“The Walter E. Washington Convention Center has been the long-standing home for the Washington Auto Show, and it continues to be an honor to work in partnership with WANADA to host such revolutionary hearings that are defining the evolution of the automotive industry and the future of the Washington Auto Show,” O’Dell continued.

The second hearing on Jan. 25, “The Road to Tomorrow: Energy Innovation in Automotive Technologies,” was held by the United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and led by Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. It focused on the current state of integrating energy and natural resources into the automotive landscape through reducing the carbon footprint of vehicles and increasing the efficiency through growing technologies.

“As WANADA celebrates 101 years supporting the auto industry in the Washington region, it was an honor to work with the United States Senate and the Walter E. Washington Convention Center to bring the first field hearings to the District of Columbia,” said John O’Donnell, president and chief executive officer of the Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Association.

“The growing auto industry continues to deliver new and exciting advancements to consumers and with these hearings the United States is able to remain a global leader for automotive technology of tomorrow,” O’Donnell went on to say.

Each year the Washington Auto Show fills all five exhibit halls, the ballroom within Convention Center. The show highlights all aspects of the automobile industry from luxury and exotic cars, to interactive driving experiences, car-themed paraphernalia, the Mobility Talks International government forum to the Art-of-Motion exhibit featuring artist-decorated vehicles and a kid zone with entertainment for guests of all ages.

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