Transportation officials across the country are urging members of the House and Senate to take advantage of what may be only a temporary bi-partisan mood to tackle the nation’s infrastructure problems when the 116th Congress begins on January 3.
In an appearance before the U.S. Committee on Environment and Public Works, those officials emphasized the need in 2019 to secure revenue for the Highway Trust Fund, while also addressing regulatory hurdles.
The move to increase the federal gas tax has additionally won a significant advocate with the announcement of Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker, who has recently said he would support the increase if President Trump would first come out in favor of the same proposal.
Remarked Wyoming Senator John Barrasso: “We depend upon highways, roads, and bridges to move people and goods, to get to our jobs and to visit our loved ones.”
“Simply put,” added Barasso, “surface transportation connects all of us.”
Carlos Braceras, president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, urged the new Congress to keep current the Fixing American’s Surface Transportation funding levels, noting: “Congress has to find $90 billion in additional revenues for a five-year bill or $114 billion for a six-year bill.”
Braceras additionally noted that in response to a loss of federal funds for infrastructure projects, some 31 states have taken on their own funding efforts.
But he added that such efforts are not enough: “The federal government must step up its share of investment and it will not be easy,” Braceras declared.
By Garry Boulard
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