Members of the Transportation Construction Coalition hit Capitol Hill this morning as a part of the organization’s annual Fly In. With over 500 construction, engineering, and equipment experts coming into Washington DC, the plan it to make Members of Congress understand the dire impact on their states, districts and the National economy if Congress fails to take action to address the long term ﬁnancial solvency of the Highway Trust Fund. Fly In attendees will also tell Congress that a timely reauthorization of MAP-21 must be a priority.
Fly In events kicked off yesterday afternoon with a series of high profile transportation speakers. Attendees heard from Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA), House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA), Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, House Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Nick Rahall (D-WV), and Past Senate Environment and Public Works Ranking Member Jim Inhofe (R-OK). Each spoke about the importance of the nation’s surface transportation system and acknowledged the needs ahead. While no one spoke in detail about how to make up the shortfall for the Highway Trust Fund, it is clear that the issue is will be a top concern as Congress works to reauthorize MAP-21 next year.
Secretary Ray LaHood told the crowd that he wants a long-term bill that spends $600 billion, however he went on further to acknowledge that even $600 billion “is just going to scratch the surface” of what the country needs. The secretary also stated that President Obama will offer a way to pay for the 2014 transportation bill after legislation dealing with guns, immigration and the sequester is dealt with. According to LaHood, “the president is going to be big and bold about what his vision is for infrastructure”.