Peter Deem (ACPA Past Chairman-2006 and Honorary Life Member) represented ACPA members at two recent advocacy events in Washington, D.C.
Transportation Construction Coalition Fly-In
Deem reported the Transportation Construction Coalition Fly-In last month was well attended … and had a consistent theme throughout. “The speakers all emphasized that although we have a long-term, five-year highway bill, we do not have a sustainable funding mechanism to keep the highway trust fund solvent moving forward,” he said.
“They emphasized the need to continue to urge Congress to identify, support and enact a sustainable source of funding,” he said, adding, “We cannot let up with our Congressional delegates.”
At the invitation of Leif Wathne on behalf of the Highway Materials Group, Jack Basso, Chairman of the Mileage-Based User Fee Alliance in Washington, D.C., spoke about vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) fees as a means of supporting transportation construction. Basso said there is a concern among some that their movements would be tracked.
He also said VMT- based revenue systems would likely be about 15% more costly to administer than the current motor-fuel (gas) tax because it would require the development of an entirely new system to administer it, and the points of collection would increase from about 850 (refineries and fuel distribution centers), to about 250 million (registered motor vehicles). Even so, he added that the State of Oregon has taken the lead with VMT, and that Colorado has applied to be a pilot state.
“We need to solve the funding issue or we could inadvertently destroy our surface transportation system and our commerce and economy with it,” Basso said.
The Road Information Program Meeting
At a meeting of The Road Information Program (TRIP), three speakers representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce nationally, regionally, and among municipal chamber offices, the message was the same as we heard during the fly-in, Deem said, adding, that board members said we have to remain laser-focused on identifying and championing a sustainable revenue mechanism for our surface transportation system.
TRIP has been successful with media work and outreach, Deem said. The efforts have helped influence lawmakers, Deem said, and “we’ve seen increases in transportation-focused gas tax and sales tax increases in 29 states since 2013, including in conservative states.”