The American Highway Alliance (AHUA) annual meeting recently covered timely transportation topics, including transportation program reauthorization updates, funding challenges and more. The meeting marked the first annual meeting for recently appointed President & CEO Laura Perrotta.
The meeting also included remarks by Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), Jim Tymon of AASHTO, and Helena Zyblikewycz, Staff Director of the House T&I Committee, as well as other leading transportation officials.
In broad strokes, the overall tone and tenor of remarks was cautiously optimistic. The House T&I are working quietly behind the scenes in a bi-partisan way. They are shooting for early next year to release a bill. However, finding a sustainable funding source that also stabilizes the highway trust fund remains the main obstacle. Similarly, on the Senate side, identifying viable funding mechanisms remains a challenge. Although, the relevant committees of jurisdiction do appear to be working across the aisle on a solution. The primary “touchstones” of a funding solution appear to be: The bill must be paid for, users should pay, and the solution must be sustainable.
A panel discussion on reauthorization included perspectives from three former US DOT Secretaries: Hon. James Burnley (1983-87 and 1987-89), the Hon. Rodney Slater (1997-2001), and the Hon. Norman Mineta (2001-06). Mr. Mineta also served as RM and Chairman of the House T&I Committee for two years. Mr. Slater also served as FHWA Administrator from 1993 to 1997.
The meeting also included a keynote luncheon with Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). Also presenting remarks were Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) and Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL). Other presenters included Jeff Davis, Senior Fellow and Editor, Eno Transportation Weekly, and Richard Russell, Staff Director, Senate Environment & Public Works Committee. Leif Wathne represented ACPA at the meeting.
____________ Photo: Panel discussion includes perspectives from three former US DOT Secretaries, whose leadership tenures with the agency spans more than 30 years.