By David Bauer, senior vice president of government relations, ARTBA
House Highways & Transit Subcommittee members Sept. 22 celebrated the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act’s freight investments and policy reforms, but widely acknowledged that much more needs to be done to meaningfully improve the overall efficiency of goods movement in the U.S. A diverse collection of freight network users and state officials appeared at the “roundtable” to provide specifics about the nation’s growing freight challenges and called for further federal leadership.
During the inevitable discussion about how to pay for these improvements, Kevin Burch, president of Jet Express, Inc. and incoming chairman of the American Trucking Associations (ATA), told subcommittee members his association supports an increase in the federal motor fuels tax. A representative of Amazon added that while his company doesn’t have an official position on how to generate new resources for transportation infrastructure investment, they are a member of ATA and support the association’s position on the fuels tax.
House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Ranking Democrat Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) reminded subcommittee members that a provision of the FAST Act guarantees any new Highway Trust Fund revenue generated by subsequent legislation would automatically translate to increased investment without the need for another authorizing bill.
Sessions such as these demonstrate that even though the FAST Act authorizes highway and public transportation investment through FY 2020, the challenge of meeting the nation’s transportation challenges remains a focus on Capitol Hill.