House Committee Hears Concerns on Transportation, Infrastructure Funding
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The House Transportation Committee’s first hearing of the new Congress focused on the challenges of maintaining the nation’s roads and bridges, and Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) pledged to maintain the federal government’s role in transportation infrastructure funding.
“An efficient national transportation network allows business to lower costs, which lowers production costs and enhances our productivity and profits,” Shuster said at Wednesday’s hearing. “It allows American businesses to compete in a global marketplace and allows our economy to prosper and grow.”
Shuster — like President Obama in his State of the Union address on Tuesday — did not lay out specific plans or commit to a mechanism for funding such improvements.
With the federal Highway Trust Fund forecast to be insolvent within less than two years, paying for infrastructure was a theme of both the hearing and a speech that Shuster gave earlier on Wednesday at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Tom Donohue, president of the Chamber, told attendees at the Chamber’s forum, dubbed “Let’s Rebuild America,” that rebuilding roads and bridges would come at a great cost.
Donohue encouraged lawmakers to raise the federal fuel tax to pay for infrastructure, saying the current tax of 24.4 cents per gallon on diesel and 18.4 cents per gallon on gasoline cannot meet the country’s needs.
Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who also testified at Wednesday’s hearing, asked Congress to create an infrastructure bank, consider raising the gasoline tax, allow states to toll more highways and provide more grants for multistate projects, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
Editor’s note: Additional coverage of the House hearing and President Obama’s State of the Union address will be included in the Feb. 18 print edition of Transport Topics.
|By Transport Topics|
Staff Reporter Timothy Cama contributed to this story.
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