ARTBA Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black joined the AEM infrastructure panel.

By John Schneidawind, vice president of public affairs, ARTBA

At least three Congressmen agree the best way to pass infrastructure legislation year is in incremental steps that address specific issues, such as a sustainable revenue source for the Highway Trust Fund (HTF).

“I’d like to see several packages come out of the House,” Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) said during a Feb. 8 infrastructure panel. Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.) echoed that sentiment by calling for “bite-sized pieces” of legislation.

Joined by Rep. John Katko, (R-N.Y.), the trio also raised the possibility of increasing the federal motor fuels tax for the first time since 1993. Such a possibility a day earlier was discussed at a House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee hearing.

ARTBA Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black, also on the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM)-sponsored panel, emphasized that 93 percent of state lawmakers who vote to raise gas taxes are re-elected.

“The disconnect is the political will” on Capitol Hill, Black said. “They have to make those hard choices.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is ready to support any member of Congress who is primaried for backing infrastructure investment, said panelist Ed Mortimer, the Chamber’s vice president for transportation and infrastructure.

Watch a video of the full panel discussion.