Tag Archives: U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Road Gang Meeting Report

The recent Road Gang luncheon featured a conversation with Ed Mortimer, Vice President of Transportation and Infrastructure at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  

Ed talked about the Chamber’s support for a 25-cent motor-fuels tax increase and how the Chamber arrived at the point of supporting a fuel tax increase. He also spoke about the Chamber’s efforts to keep up the momentum and ensure optimism that Congress will take action this cycle.  

He also described how U.S. House T&I Committee Chairman Peter DaFazio (D-OR-04) and House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA-01) have engaged Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12) to encourage meeting with President Trump to restart conversations about an infrastructure bill.  Mortimer also says Chamber members have stated clearly their goal of pushing for an infrastructure bill. 

Ed also spoke about a new ad campaign launched last week by the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) and Chamber-led Americans for Transportation Mobility (ATM) coalition.  The campaign is aimed at persuading Congress and the Trump Administration to act this year in support of a permanent Highway Trust Fund (HTF) fix and a new transportation infrastructure package.

A social media campaign, which uses “Conversation Cards,” targets the messaging to the Twitter followers of dozens of key members of the House Ways & Means and Senate Finance Committees.  The effort is complemented by digital and Twitter ads aimed at members of Congress, their staffs and other D.C. policymakers.  The campaign is also supported by an opinion editorial in POLITICO.

Leif Wathne represents ACPA on the Road Gang and participated in the luncheon.  In related news, Katy Hartnett, PCA Director of Government Affairs has been accepted as a member of the Road Gang, following a nomination by Leif.

The Road Gang is an informal group of business and government executives, highway engineers and consultants, press and public relations specialists, company representatives and trade association officials from the highway transportation industry in the Washington, D.C. area. The Road Gang serves the dual purpose of promoting fellowship and providing for the interchange of ideas among “Washington’s Transportation Fraternity.”

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Follow this link to see ACPA’s government affairs repository.

Highlights of the TCC Fly-In, TRIP Meeting

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.”

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