By Lauren Schapker, vice president of legislative affairs, ARTBA
A long-term federal transportation infrastructure investment bill will help drive the nation’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, ARTBA Chairman Steve McGough June 4 testified before the Senate Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee.
McGough noted a recent forecast from the Congressional Budget Office that it could take a decade for the U.S. economy to recover from the coronavirus was sobering. He emphasized a one-time infusions of federal transportation investment and shovel-ready projects were not the solutions to America’s unprecedented economic challenges.
Watch a video of Steve McGough’s 5-minute opening statement.
“While transportation infrastructure improvements have positive job and salary impacts, the real value comes from putting in place long-term assets that increase the efficiency and productivity for the entire economy,” McGough said.
McGough voiced the association’s support for the EPW Committee’s July 2019 unanimously approved America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA), a proposal to increase highway investment by 27 percent over the next five years. ATIA also includes positive reforms to expedite the delivery of needed infrastructure improvements and maximize the impacts of federal resources.
During his testimony, McGough also announced the creation of the “ARTBA Highway Dashboard: A 50-State Guide to the Benefits of Federal Investment,” an interactive tool that highlights the program’s outcomes at the national and state levels. Using Federal Highway Administration data, it features each state’s top-10 federal-aid projects, the total number of projects and the type of improvements advanced in a given year.
The dashboard will increase transparency and better highlight what could be achieved with a robust, multi-year surface transportation reauthorization bill.
McGough concluded: “We urge the other Senate committees with respective jurisdiction over their portions of the transportation programs to act quickly in order to facilitate final passage of America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act.”
McGough was joined by American Action Forum President Douglas Holtz-Eakin, and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer (D), incoming president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, who attended virtually from Kentucky.