The following is a statement from American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) President & CEO Pete Ruane on the federal surface transportation program conference bill:
“In the short term, the bill will provide stability in federal funding for state and local transportation projects. The elimination of earmarks should also accelerate the speed at which federal funds impact the market for transportation improvements. That’s the good news.
“The bad news is there is no new money. And even with their federal funds, we are now in a situation where 28 states have invested less in highway and bridge projects over the past 12 months than they did in pre-recession 2008, even when adjusted for inflation.
“We view this bill—as we believe congressional leaders do—as just ‘Step One,’ which is making the significant program and policy reforms needed to restore public confidence in how the federal government is investing their money in transportation and mobility.
“‘Step Two’ is coming to grips with how to fund the nation’s investments in transportation infrastructure and mobility over the longer term. That tough job remains. And it will require the same bipartisan, bicameral leadership and cooperation that was ultimately demonstrated on this bill.
“Our mission is crystal clear: to do everything possible to ensure that the proper level of transportation investment is viewed as a core priority as the looming larger discussion and legislative activity begins in earnest on Capitol Hill to define the proper role of the federal government in the 21st century and how it utilizes the public’s money.
“We commend Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Environment & Public Works Committee Chair Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), EPW Ranking Member Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.), and T&I Committee Ranking Member Nick J. Rahall (D-W.Va.), for their steadfast leadership and dogged determination to get the job done.“