Americans for Transportation Mobility Pushes Congress for Multiyear Highway/Transit Bill

AASHTO Journal, 7 October 2011

The Americans for Transportation Mobility coalition is urging Congress to quickly file and pass a multiyear surface transportation reauthorization bill. The plea was made in a letter sent to all members of Congress last week.In that letter, ATM — led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — also thanked Congress for passage last month of the six-month extension of federal highway and transit programs at current funding levels. That is the eighth short-term extension of the 2005 surface transportation authorization law known as “SAFETEA-LU,” which expired Sept. 30, 2009. (see Sept. 23 AASHTO Journal story).

Although ATM expressed appreciation for the current short-term extension, which will last through March 31, the coalition stressed that continuing to pass short-term extensions instead of a multiyear bill produces negative consequences for the nation’s economy.

“Without the certainty of a multiyear bill, current problems are harder to solve as highway and transit conditions worsen and land, labor, and materials get more expensive,” the letter states. “Highway and transit investments facilitate national, regional, and local economic growth in the long term and create direct jobs in the short term.”

The coalition also includes the American Public Transportation Association; American Road & Transportation Builders Association; American Society of Civil Engineers; Associated Equipment Distributors; Associated General Contractors; Association of Equipment Manufacturers; International Union of Operating Engineers; Laborers International Union of North America; National Asphalt Pavement Association; National Stone, Sand, & Gravel Association; and United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America.

There are multiple surface transportation reauthorization bills being conceived and floated around Capitol Hill, but none have been formally introduced or marked up in committee. ATM’s letter notes the coalition is pleaed that House Republicans are reconsidering their proposal to cut transportation spending by one-third. (see Sept. 30 AASHTO Journal story)

“The ATM coalition is pleased that both the House and Senate, in recognition that robust federal infrastructure spending plays a foundational role in the American economy, have acknowledged in their reauthorization proposals that, during these uncertain economic times, the country can ill-afford any reductions in current funding levels for federal highway and transit programs,” the letter states. “The ATM coalition acknowledges that there are significant challenges in finding the revenue that Congress has identified would be needed to maintain current levels of service. We applaud the House and Senate for their efforts to find reliable revenue streams that will be sufficient to support long-term growth and fiscal sustainability of the program.”

The letter is available at

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