A lot more than autumn leaves were rustling in the Nation’s Capital as this issue of “Transportation Builder” went to press in late October.
The House Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee released a six-year highway and transit bill—the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act (STRRA)—even as the chamber grappled with the leadership battle that began in September with the resignation of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
The T&I Committee marked up and approved the bill on Oct. 22; a move that brings reauthorization one step closer to completion by the end of 2015.
Another short-term highway and transit funding authorization extension is likely to allow for additional time for the full House to take action on the bill. And the creation of a conference committee to resolve the differences between STRRA and the Senate-passed DRIVE Act will also offer another opportunity for ARTBA and its industry allies to help shape the provisions in the final bill.
Given that politics on Capitol Hill these days is a contact sport, we should all be prepared for more hurdles, twists and turns in the weeks ahead. But the critical point is this: progress continues to be made, even if it is slower than our industry—and American businesses and motorists—might like.
These developments also underscore why it is critical for all ARTBA members and other industry executives not to give up, but remain in the game and keep pushing Congress to act.
Talk to your senators and representatives in person and over the phone when possible. Use our digital grassroots platform in the “Take Action” section of www.tmaw.com to boost the messaging via email, Twitter and Facebook.
We’ll keep you posted on the fluid developments from Capitol Hill through the “Washington Newsline,” our website: www.artba.org, and our social media channels. Your personal commitment to ratcheting up the grassroots political pressure is the key to getting meaningful legislation!
Pete Ruane is president and CEO of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association.