NSSGA welcomes focus on infrastructure in Congress
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate held several important infrastructure hearings in anticipation of President Trump’s 2020 budget release and the coming comprehensive infrastructure package.
Testifying in front of the House committee on Ways and Means, Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., the ranking Republican on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (T&I), said that he is focused on finding a resolution that will benefit the U.S. for years to come, suggesting that a fee on vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) may be “the most promising long-term solution.” During the same hearing, T&I Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., said that he prefers a nationwide highway program to a VMT. Though, he added that no matter how we fund infrastructure, “the cost of doing nothing is astronomical.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer later told Bloomberg that “getting infrastructure done means paying for it. And while everybody wants to invest in infrastructure, it is more problematic from many perspectives of how you pay for that.”
The Senate Environment and Public Works also held hearings to discuss fixing our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, the need for immediate action and suggestions for raising the necessary revenue to pay for upgrades to our nation’s roads and bridges. Suggestions included increasing the motor fuels tax, toll increases and user fees.
Also last week, on Wednesday, March 6, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), which provides auditing, evaluation and investigative services for Congress, published a report that identified funding for the U.S. surface transportation system as one of our most pressing needs. The GAO recommended that “Congress and President Trump’s Administration need to agree on a long-term plan for funding surface transportation.”
NSSGA’s Vice President of Government Affairs Michele Stanley welcomed the focus on infrastructure from these committees. “These actions are positive signs that Congress is listening to voters, and is committed to crafting an infrastructure package,” she said. NSSGA will continue to advocate on behalf of its members and is committed to remaining involved as discussions in Congress progress. She urged each of NSSGA’s producer members to bring a member of Congress to their operation this year. More than 100 operations hosted their lawmakers for tours in 2018. These events provide unforgettable ways for elected officials to see how aggregates are produced, and they allow operations to talk about jobs, community support, dedication to safety and build a relationship with that member of Congress.