U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Highlights 2014 Priorities, Calls for Multi-Year Highway Bill

AASHTO Journal, 10 January 2014

In his annual State of American Business address on Wednesday, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Donohue pushed for a “multi-year reauthorization” of a surface transportation bill for the sake of improving the nation’s economy.

Donohue’s speech, in which he reported that “the state of American business is improving and our economy is gaining strength,” highlighted a variety of priorities for the business community in 2014, including the expansion of global trade, regulatory and permitting reform, and promoting economic opportunity for all citizens. However, Donohue linked jobs, growth, and expanded opportunity to transportation infrastructure improvements.

“Trading around the world and moving energy across the country requires a safe, seamless, and modern infrastructure. Families, workers, visitors, tourists, and our environment needs it, too—to speed mobility, conserve energy, clean the air, and save lives,” Donohue said. “The Chamber will work for a multi-year reauthorization of the nation’s core surface transportation program, which expires at the end of September. And, we’re asking Congress to complete work on a major water resources bill as soon as possible.”

Donohue was asked last February during a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing by Ranking Member Nick Rahall (D-WV) if he agreed that “all funding options should be on the table,” to strengthen transportation investment, and replied that he did agree. “We like some funding options more than others, but yes,” Donohue said, specifically voicing his support for an increase in the federal gas tax (see related AASHTO Journal story here).

In concluding his State of American Business address, Donohue said that in order to attain the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s goals, leaders across all sectors must work together.

“The promise of America has always been that the older generations will leave to the young a stronger, better, and more hopeful country,” Donahue said. “This is a promise we can still keep and we must keep. But it all comes down to leadership—leadership in our government, leadership in business, and leadership in every sector of American life. Leadership that puts our country and the future first.”

Donohue’s full speech is available here.

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