Foxx, Inhofe, Shuster, DeFazio to Headline AASHTO Washington Legislative Briefing

AASHTO Journal, 20 February 2015

The heads of state departments of transportation will convene Feb. 24-27 for the annual Washington Legislative Briefing by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, an event that will draw key policymakers to meet with the state leaders in the nation’s capital.

Among those slated to address the state agency CEOs are U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman James Inhofe, R-Okla., House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., and the T&I Committee’s ranking member, Peter DeFazio, D-Ore.

The full agenda is available here.

Foxx, who is scheduled to deliver a keynote address on Feb. 25, spent the past week on a “Grow America Express” bus tour of five southern states.

He used the trip during a congressional recess to highlight surface transportation infrastructure needs and promote the administration’s plan for a broadened trust fund that would combine highway, transit and rail programs. The plan would fund all those programs for six years by a combination of new taxes on foreign profits of U.S. corporations and current excise taxes dedicated to the Highway Trust Fund.

Inhofe, Shuster and DeFazio are scheduled to address the AASHTO conference on Feb. 26, ahead of a period when AASHTO members head to Capitol Hill for visits to congressional offices.

Inhofe’s EPW Committee will have responsibility for drafting the highway portion of any legislation to reauthorize Highway Trust Fund programs, though other Senate panels handle the transit and safety aspects. EPW also oversees rail, aviation and waterway transportation.

Shuster’s T&I Committee has jurisdiction over all transportation modes, and he and DeFazio have emphasized their intention to craft bipartisan legislation.

The committee has already advanced a passenger rail authorization bill this year; the panel will need to generate highway/transit legislation before trust fund program authority expires May 31 and an aviation bill to extend FAA programs beyond Sept. 30.

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