NATSO joined with more than 40 organizations representing businesses, transportation and local governments in urging Senate Leaders to take up legislation to reauthorize the federal surface transportation program as soon as possible. Current surface transportation law is set to expire in 2020.
The letter was sent to Senate Leadership just two days after President Trump proposed spending $1 trillion on infrastructure in his fiscal 2021 budget proposal released Feb. 10. The budget would spend $810 billion over 10 years for the nation’s highways, rail, and transit systems, and another $190 billion for other infrastructure issues, such as coordinating megaprojects and delivering broadband to rural communities.
The budget proposal calls for spending $75 billion more than under current law as part of the 10-year reauthorization. Transportation Department officials didn’t offer proposals for raising the revenue to offset a projected $261 billion gap between spending and revenue.
In the Feb. 12 letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the groups applauded the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee for taking a critical step forward to reauthorize federal surface transportation programs when it unanimously approved S. 2302, “America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA)” last summer.
The Senate Finance Committee, which is responsible for finding a way to pay for the measure, still needs to add its Title before the bill can go before the full Senate. Additional committees also need to add sections on transit and safety, among others.
NATSO supported that five-year $287 billion highway reauthorization bill and applauded the Committee for ensuring that highway and infrastructure programs are adequately funded without repealing the federal prohibitions on tolling existing interstates or commercializing rest areas.
NATSO also supported the Committee’s effort to establish a grant program that would stimulate private investment in electric vehicle charging and natural gas refueling stations along designated highway corridors under S. 2302.
In the Feb. 12 letter to Senate Leadership, the groups said that President Trump has reiterated the need to rebuild our infrastructure and called on Congress to pass ATIA. “This show of broad, bipartisan cooperation speaks not only to the merits of moving forward with such legislation, but also to its prospects for passage and popularity with the electorate,” the groups wrote. “History has demonstrated that delaying action on such legislation leads to two negative outcomes: stifling economic development and construction workers not on job sites.”
In his State of the Union Address, President Trump called for action on S. 2302.
NATSO was joined in signing the Feb. 12 letter by a broad cross-section of the business and transportation communities, including the Chamber of Commerce, American Highway Users Alliance, the Governors Highway Safety Association, the Food Industry Association, and the National Association of Counties among many others.
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