Important Week for Transportation is Only First Step
By Janet Kavinoky, Vice President, Americans for Transportation Mobility Coalition & Executive Director, Transportation & Infrastructure at U.S. Chamber of Commerce
This week there were two hearings on the future of federal funding for roads, bridges, and public transportation. The focus of the hearings should have been on why it is absolutely essential for Congress to act on a long-term, fully funded bill to reauthorize highway, transit, and highway safety programs. The Chamber and the Americans for Transportation Mobility Coalition have laid out its case in a new publication that you can download here.
And the hearings needed to go one step further to discuss how to pay for maintaining—and ideally increasing—federal assistance to state and local governments. The Chamber has also offered our thoughts on this numerous times, including at two hearings this spring, where we presented our five criteria for a good federal revenue source for transportation. And we pointed out to Congress in our letter on the most recent extension of current law that there were two blue-ribbon commissions, created by Congress, which presented comprehensive views on the future of federal transportation funding.
There has been no shortage of reports, conferences, hearings, and discussions on the topic. And nearly all of them conclude that:
- The federal government plays an important role in transportation—a role that goes all the way back to the founding of the country.
- The nation—and the federal government—needs to invest more in maintaining, modernizing, and expanding transportation infrastructure or risk economic consequences.
- The most straightforward, simple solution would be a modest increase in user fees along with indexing those to inflation. That solution is politically difficult, and so there are numerous other options to pay for the planning, design, and construction of roads, bridges, transit system, and safety solutions that could be considered in combination with one another.
- A long-term (4-6 year) policy and funding bill is long overdue, and in order to make productive infrastructure investments for the future Congress and the President need to work together and make this extension of Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century the last one.
It’s an important week for transportation. We need your help to encourage our elected officials to make substantial progress on MAP-21 reauthorization.
You can speak up and provide your statement of support for Ways and Means to fund a long-term transportation bill: the House Ways & Means Committee invites statements or letters for the record on their website through July 1.
And TODAY, you, your colleagues, and your friends, can get smart on the topic, sign up to join the movement, and take action at www.fasterbettersafer.org.