America’s transportation network has been “neglected far too long and needs major attention” in order to keep the nation competitive and facilitate future economic growth, American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) President and CEO Pete Ruane told participants March 3 at a Washington, D.C., conference hosted by Iona College and presenting sponsor Terex Corporation, which is based in Westport, Conn. The company’s CEO, Ron DeFeo, serves as an ARTBA vice chairman at-large.
Ruane said the United States “must have a clear and consistent long-term commitment” to address the $20 billion revenue shortfall facing the Highway Trust Fund as soon as 2010 and a corresponding shortfall facing the transit account in 2011, absent congressional action.
He called on Congress and the Obama Administration to put “all funding options on the table” during the upcoming debate on the multi-year surface transportation investment bill. These include an increase in the federal gas tax and indexing it to inflation going forward, tolling, public-private partnerships, bonding and congestion pricing. He also voiced support for establishing a transition to the so-called “vehicle miles traveled tax” to finance future transportation projects.
The goal of the Iona “Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure for Global Competitiveness” conference was to bring “together policymakers, business leaders, labor and academic experts to discuss solutions to the challenges of planning, funding, building and maintaining the various systems required of a robust national infrastructure in an increasingly competitive global environment.”
Ruane outlined the association’s legislative priorities for the authorization bill, saying Congress should not be “looking for a one size fits all option.” He said the measure should empower states to determine the best uses of their transportation investment funds based on local needs. He also outlined ARTBA’s “Critical Commerce Corridors” proposal, which is aimed at adding intermodal capacity to speed the safe and efficient movement of goods.
Former and current members of Congress and the executive branch, engineering and construction association executives, business leaders and union officials also spoke at the event.
Complete conference information is available at www.infrastructure2009.com.