Focus on Highway Trust Fund and MAP-21 funding
With the newly enacted water bill (WRRDA) now in the rear-view mirror, some familiar players and some newcomers are focusing their attention on U.S. transportation legislation. Congressional WRRDA supporters, including Rep. Bill Shuster and Sen. David Vitter, are now key players in the current transportation discussions.
According to a June 16 press release from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), “More than 50 ‘young guns’ in the transportation design and construction industry took part in an intensive boot camp introduction to the federal legislative and regulatory processes, and then descended on Capitol Hill last week to press their Members of Congress to fix the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) and pass a long-term surface transportation bill.”
The press release noted that the sessions focused on federal highway program financing, grassroots advocacy, future challenges facing the nation’s infrastructure, transportation construction safety, ethics, and also featured a visit to the U.S. Department of Transportation Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center.
Participants also heard the perspectives of U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), Senate Environment & Public Works Committee Ranking Member David Vitter (R-La.), and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) about the HTF situation and timeline for the reauthorization of MAP-21.
MAP-21, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st century act, was signed into law by President Obama on July 6, 2012. MAP-21 has funded surface transportation programs at more than $105 billion for fiscal years 2013 and 2014, and proponents are seeking continued MAP-21 funding.
–Ron Bygness, senior editor, Geosynthetics magazine