House Transportation Chairman Bill Shuster to Debate Challenger Oct. 21

Pete Marovich/Bloomberg News

Before voters in Pennsylvania’s 9th Congressional District head to the election booths, they can hear from the incumbent Republican and Democratic challenger who have scheduled a debate Oct. 21.

Taking center stage at the Magerko Auditorium at Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus, Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), chairman of the House Transportation panel, and his opponent, Art Halvorson, will look to win support from constituents who for decades have sent a Shuster to the U.S. House.

In 2001, Shuster took over for his father, Rep. Bud Shuster (R-Pa.), who retired. Bud Shuster also led the Transportation panel.

Shuster touts the committee’s passage of a five-year highway bill signed into law in December, which earned praise from the trucking and freight industries. Halvorson, a tea party-backed candidate, has pledged to shrink the scope of the federal Highway Trust Fund if elected, a concept referred to as devolution. The trust fund is used by the U.S. Department of Transportation to help states finance infrastructure projects.

“I would seek to remove the Highway Trust Fund from federal jurisdiction and leave the money in the states. The money is collected here. I believe the trust fund would remain in the state in which it is collected. We wouldn’t have a federal highway trust fund as such as it exists, except at a minimal level,” Halvorson told Transport Topics last week.

In April, Shuster barely defeated Halvorson in the Republican primary. Halvorson switched parties to challenge Shuster in the general election. Both candidates support Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

The Oct. 21 debate is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. eastern time. Penn State Fayette is in Lemont Furnace, about 50 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.