NSSGA and NAPA, along with the support of NRMCA and AEM, joined forces this week at a Materials Group Fly-In on Capitol Hill. “Paving the Way to the Future” was a coordinated effort Sept. 9-10 to put pressure on members of Congress to pass a multiyear transportation bill with a long-term funding mechanism. More than 100 grassroots transportation advocates held meetings with legislators and staff to talk about the benefits America’s surface transportation network bring to their states and districts, and the significant impact it has on the national economy and their constituents.
Despite Congress having passed a temporary funding patch for the Highway Trust Fund at the end of July, the long-term stability of the nation’s surface transportation network still is in doubt; it is imperative that Congress continues to hear about the importance of investment in the nation’s roads and highways, which underpin the economy and the safety and security of its citizens.
The House and Senate will only be in session briefly to accomplish some important budgetary items before focusing their attention on the upcoming election. The message of the fly-in was to press Congress to approve a bill during the post-election, lame duck session in November and December. Without a looming election, senators and representatives are freer to make the tough choices, such as raising the gas tax.
The fly-in began with a NSSGA/NAPA legislative briefing Sept. 9 where attendees heard from a congressional panel made-up up senior staffers, including Murphie Barrett and Jim Kolb, representing the House Highways and Transit Subcommittee Republicans and Democrats respectively, and Peter Frank representing Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and Alex Hergott, legislative director to Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), followed by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) who has proposed a modest 12-cent gas tax increase to fund decaying roads and crumbling bridges.
An evening reception at the Rayburn Office Building was sponsored by AEM and attended by the transportation advocates from NSSGA, NAPA, NRMCA and AEM, as well as several members of congress including Reps. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), Rick Larsen (D- Wash.), Tim Walburg (R-Mich.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Peter King (D-N.Y.), William Keating (D-Mass) and David Valadao (R-Calif.).