(WASHINGTON)—American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) President & CEO Pete Ruane issued the following statement regarding final congressional approval of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act:
“The overwhelming, bipartisan vote for passage of the FAST Act shows once again that transportation infrastructure is a thread that has the capacity to bind America—whether it is red, blue or purple.
“We thank Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Environment & Public Works Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe and Ranking Democrat Barbara Boxer, and House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster and Ranking Democrat Peter DeFazio for their leadership in getting the bill done in a very problematic political environment.
“The good news is that from a public policy standpoint, there are a number of things to like about the FAST Act:
“It provides five years of funding predictability and less federal red tape for state transportation improvement programs. This, in turn, will help maintain employment, assists the public and private sectors to plan ahead, and it will speed up project delivery.
“It puts in place a reporting process that will provide more transparency and accountability. Highway users will now be able to know how and where their federal fuels taxes are being invested in their community.
“And it creates the program framework to finally start modernizing our National Highway Freight Network. All that is missing is the money to get that job done right.
“And here is the bad news… Congress and the Obama Administration again sidestepped a golden opportunity to put the federal highway and transit investment program back on solid financial footing for the long-term. Five years goes by fast. In four years, state transportation departments will again be staring at a looming funding abyss.
“Congress and the Obama Administration also fell short in providing the level of investment that would result in demonstrable improvement in the overall physical conditions, performance and safety of the system. At best, we will be treading water.
“Unfortunately, a large orange and black ‘Work Ahead’ sign still remains standing in the Nation’s Capital when it comes to providing sustainable and game-changing surface transportation capital investment. ARTBA will be there to remind them.”
Since 1902, ARTBA has been the “consensus voice” of the U.S. transportation design and construction industry before Congress, the White House, federal agencies, general public and news media.