Wednesday, December 09, 2009

RAMP Signs Letter Supporting SAFETEA-LU Reauthorization

The Regional Access Mobility Partnership in solidarity with the US Chamber of Commerce, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, hundreds of other local chambers and organizations is urging US Senators and Representatives to reauthorize SAFETEA-LU, the federal transportation legislation.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Jim Oberstar (MN-08) and Ranking Member John Mica (FL-07), and Highways and Transit Subcommittee Chairman Peter DeFazio (OR-04) and Ranking Member John Duncan (TN-02) introduced legislation to reauthorize the federal highway, public transportation and safety programs, officially kicking off the congressional debate. While the 775 page bill is not perfect, it is a good start with a strong emphasis on reform and accountability.

The letter states:
The time to enact a robust, six-year federal surface transportation program authorization is NOW!

There is a big difference between public investment and public spending. And the American people know it. Unlike much government spending, strategic capital investments in our national highway, bridge and public transportation network provide long-lived assets that return value to American families, businesses and the U.S. economy for current and future generations—value far exceeding their initial cost.

Enactment of a multi-year transportation bill is a unique opportunity to address two major national economic challenges by promoting job creation and incentivizing capital investment. Strategic investments in transportation infrastructure can reduce productivity-robbing, energy wasting, emissions creating traffic congestion. They can also reduce health care costs by reducing motor vehicle crashes caused by inadequate road conditions.

Two, blue-ribbon, bipartisan commissions initiated by the Congress in 2005 have provided a consensus blueprint for action and financing. They call for policy principles we embrace: a surface transportation program that is performance-based, transparent and fully accountable to taxpayers, and user financed. And we heartily agree with their conclusion that sufficient revenue must be raised to fund new capital investments in highway and transit capacity to facilitate the movement of people and freight. These investments are absolutely critical to America’s future economic competitiveness.

We readily acknowledge the political challenges associated with financing the next surface transportation program authorization. But the obvious can no longer be ignored. To that end, we pledge to actively support user fee-based revenue solutions, including an increase in the federal motor fuels tax, necessary to fund a six-year investment bill that meets national transportation needs.

Let’s put America back to work and on the move!

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