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Members of House Issue Dear Colleague Letter Calling for Passage of Multi-Year Authorization Bill
Four members of Congress—Reps. Reid J. Ribble (R-WI), Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), Tom Reed (R-NY), and Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-NJ)—circulated a Dear Colleague letter on Dec. 3 to their colleagues calling for passage of a multi-year surface transportation authorization bill. APTA is among the numerous organizations that support the text of the letter.Ribble and Lipinski are both members of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.
“We support transportation and infrastructure investment because our economy needs a national system to safely move people and deliver goods from place to place,” the congressmen wrote. The letter was addressed to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), but circulated to all members of the House of Representatives.
“The current extension of the Highway Trust Fund is slated to expire on May 31, 2015. This is not a long way off. We are united in our conviction that now is the time to end the cycle of short-term extensions that kick the can down the road by doing the work needed to pass a long-term surface transportation reauthorization bill,” the letter states.
Other issues addressed in the letter include the need for stable financial support to build and maintain the U.S. transportation infrastructure, the uncertainty and inability to plan that result from short-term funding fixes, and the importance of finding a reliable funding source for the Highway Trust Fund.
APTA encourages its members to contact their elected leaders in Congress and support the passage of a multi-year authorization bill.
Excerpts from the letter follow:
Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives have consistently recognized the importance of a well-functioning and efficient surface transportation network in the United States. We know that our country needs robust transportation infrastructure to compete in the global economy and that without such a network, the United States will be less able to realize future economic growth.
Very simply, we support transportation and infrastructure investment because our economy needs a national system to safely move people and deliver goods from place to place. Our constituents in the manufacturing, construction, agriculture, and distribution sectors rely heavily on our network of roads and bridges to move the products that make us competitive around the globe.
We were pleased that Congress was able to enact the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) in 2012, but we are more troubled by the significant uncertainty that has plagued federal highway and transit policy in recent years. In the last decade, there have been nine short-term extensions of highway and transit programs. This kind of uncertainty impedes economic growth and makes it difficult for our country to fulfill its competitive potential. ...
To make this happen, we support efforts to develop a long-term sustainable revenue source for our nation’s transportation network as soon as possible. Otherwise, we will not be able to enact a transportation bill that truly meets our country’s economic and infrastructure needs.
We respectfully urge you to move a responsibly paid-for multi-year surface transportation bill that will support much needed economic growth throughout our nation. We stand ready to work with you on this endeavor in the coming months.