fees, private-public partnerships and bond issues are among future funding
options for highway and transit systems, according to leaders who last week
attended the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's National Chamber Foundation
speaker Mary Peters, Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration, said “it is time to look at this again,” referring to current funding policy, which
was established in 1954 during the Eisenhower Administration.
speakers included AASHTO Director of Management and Business Development Jack
Basso, American Road and Transportation Builders Association Vice President for
Economics and Research Bill Buechner, former House Transportation and Infrastructure
Committee Chief of Staff Jack Schenendorf – now a consultant with Covington and
Burling – and Kenneth Weinstein, vice president and chief operating officer of
The Hudson Institute.
comments, as reported by the American Association of State Highway
Transportation Officials, were varied, but carried the common theme of change
as a necessity.
are clearly at a point of change,” Basso said. “We in fact, have a vacuum.”
believes the 18.4 cents per gallon gas tax “has to be replaced.” He added most
money now goes for maintenance and not enough to add needed capacity.
future of transportation funding will also be shaped by Congress’ ability and
willingness to assess alternatives, Schenendorf said.
the Chamber announced it would begin its own study of alternative long-term
sources of revenue to support the Highway Trust Fund.
“Our roads and highways cannot handle today’s demands – much
less the higher demand predicted in the future,” said David Hirschmann, Chamber
senior vice president and executive director of the National Chamber Foundation
– the U.S. Chamber’s public policy think tank.
“It's past time to explore new options for funding
transportation improvements that will make travel safer and help move our goods
more quickly and at less cost.”