House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) believes Congress has an opportunity and an obligation to lead on infrastructure, and he’s right. Yesterday, the committee released a draft framework that offers an important, actionable vision. It reaffirms that user pay principles are critical to ensuring appropriate and reliable future infrastructure funding streams are available now and in the future.
The chairman recognizes current transportation funding approaches are neither innovative nor sustainable, but Congress needs to start putting key pieces into play if we are to transition to a new, modern revenue system. Moreover, the plan calls for an eventual up or down vote that Congress must take as it contemplates a legislative proposal from a to-be-formed Highway Trust Fund Commission. Policy and revenue commissions of the past have been steeped in history, technical issues and devised great ideas to address persistent funding shortfalls, but this time, Congress cannot ignore the experts or the people who are calling for better infrastructure.
In addition, the framework highlights the critical federal role in advancing projects of national and regional significance. Chairman Shuster’s effort builds on the successes of President Donald Trump’s infrastructure goals by providing legislative language to streamline the environmental review process and expand innovative financing options.
Congress needs a starting point to tackle the enormous challenge of our woefully inadequate infrastructure, and manufacturers are grateful that Chairman Shuster is leading strategically with a legislative framework so that Congress can act and take the needed next steps. We’ve learned through the tragedies of bridge failures, emerging freight choke points and unyielding congestion that the status quo won’t work now or in the future. Manufacturers are pleased that Chairman Shuster heeded the calls from “Building to Win” because his Building a 21st Century Infrastructure offers a promising roadmap forward.