In a letter to U.S. House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi earlier this month, the Highway Materials Group (HMG)* urged the Congressional leaders to take action by leading their colleagues in Congress to act now to fund America’s surface transportation infrastructure.
ACPA is a founding member of the HMG, which also articulated in the letter four principles for Federal-aid surface transportation reauthorization. These include:
- America’s Economic Prosperity/Global Competitiveness – America’s economic vitality depends on an integrated national, intermodal surface transportation network that moves goods and people to maximize global competitiveness, quality of life, and economic prosperity for all citizens. Unfortunately, the investments needed to maintain and expand the highway system have been inadequate. As a result, America is ill-prepared to meet the competitive demands of the global economy.
- Constitutional Responsibility – Maintaining a vital, national infrastructure has been a federal responsibility since the founding of the Republic. Congress is tasked with establishing “post roads,” pre-cursors of today’s national highway system, and regulating commerce among the states and with other nations. Commerce is the lifeblood of our nation’s economy, and America’s transportation infrastructure is its circulatory system. This network of roads and transportation structures – built by Americans employed in well-paying jobs that cannot be exported – is essential for the economic growth, safety, security, freedom of mobility, and quality of life benefiting every American. We oppose efforts to transfer this responsibility to the states as an unfunded federal mandate.
- User-fee based – In order to overcome the highway funding gap, we support the adoption of any user-fee based funding options and innovative finance tools to provide federal and state transportation departments with the funding they need to make critical investments in our transportation infrastructure.
- Timeliness/Long-term authorization – The longer Congress delays in making the investments necessary to our highways, roads and bridges, the more difficult and expensive it will be for our nation to finance this critical and necessary endeavor. At a time when cost is paramount, Congress must act now. Timely enactment of a six-year authorization bill is critical for state transportation departments to plan and budget for projects and for our industry to make critical business decisions.
* The Highway Materials Group is comprised of the American Concrete Pavement Association, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, Associated Equipment Distributors, Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute, National Asphalt Pavement Association, National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association, and the Portland Cement Association.