AASHTO Journal, 8 August 2014
Thousands of viewers tuned in to a national online town hall hosted by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx Wednesday, Aug. 6.
Sec. Foxx’ message: The nation needs a long-term source of funding for transportation and Congress should pass a bill sooner than later, preferably in the current session that expires in December.
“Too often states have not known (funding availability) … so they’ve stopped planning and they’ve stopped building,” Foxx said. “We cannot afford to wait another 10 months to get another stopgap bill.”
Foxx said that while Congress seemed to recognize the urgency surrounding the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund, passing a $10.8 billion funding patch last week, they do not show an understanding of the cumulative impact of the last six years on states and local communities.
Foxx said that transportation not only needs more funding, but also better policies that are a part of President Obama’s GROW America transportation proposal addressing freight, investment in transit, streamlined permitting, giving local communities a greater say in what gets built, and training workers.
Foxx fielded a range of questions collected via the town hall web site, email and Twitter touching on diverse topics including increasing funding for rail programs, the importance of freight to the national economy, expanding public transit and livable communities.
USDOT in a Twitter message said that more than 3,400 people were logged into the town hall and that it received more than 300 questions during the hour-long program.
Foxx closed the session by urging participants to tell their congressmen about the need for a long-term bill and to use social media to raise awareness for transportation investments.
USDOT officials said the full video would be posted online. For more information, visit http://www.dot.gov//fastlane/turn-heat-support-jobs-economic-strength-transportation.