Today the search goes on for new funding options
The Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit today heard testimony on innovative ways to stretch public transportation investments through the use of innovative financing methods.
Jim Oberstar (Minn.), Chairman of the full Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and Subcommittee Chairman Peter DeFazio (Ore.) addressed the opening session. So did. John Duncan, Jr. (R-TN), Highways and Transit Subcommittee Ranking Member
Basically they laid out the simple, but deep, jam we are in. Highway funding needs more money. Existing ways of raising it are inadequate. Let’s talk about innovative ways to find more. I’ve pasted in their comments here. I didn’t see any solutions here, but you can feel the urgency in their voices, you can hear them saying, “No, really, if we don’t find a new course we’re going to hit that iceberg.” The question raised here, big time, is can the meeting find anything new that could actually work and if they do will something be done or will we just talk about it.
Statement of James l. Oberstar
This nation is suffering from significant underinvestment in its surface transportation infrastructure, which has undermined both the condition and performance of the network. We must renew our commitment to make the investments required to rebuild and expand the nation’s transportation infrastructure. If we fail, congestion will worsen, goods will move more slowly, people will spend more frustrating hours idling in traffic, air quality will continue to deteriorate, and quality of life will diminish.
To address these needs, we have developed the six-year, $450 billion Surface Transportation Authorization Act. This transformational long-term authorization makes the programmatic reforms necessary to support surface transportation needs into the 21st century. The obstacle to moving forward with this important legislation is how to pay for it. Fully funding the $450 billion, six-year investment level called for in the Surface Transportation Authorization Act requires $140 billion in additional revenues over six years above what can be currently supported.
$65.5 billion a year to maintain the current year’s surface transportation investment level, and
$75 billion over six years to finance the additional investment called for in the Surface Transportation Authorization Act.
Even if we can identify the revenues necessary to fully fund the investment levels called for in the Surface Transportation Authorization Act, a significant surface transportation investment gap will remain. The National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission (Policy Commission) called for an annual investment level of between $225 and $340 billion – by all levels of government and the private sector – over the next 50 years to upgrade all modes of surface transportation to a state of good repair.
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