The Coalition for American’s Gateways and Trade Corridors has issued a public statement endorsing the inclusion of a “focused freight program” in the announcement by the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee on the upcoming Surface Transportation Authorization legislation.
“We are delighted to see a focused freight program identified as part of the core content of the upcoming bill and look forward to seeing the bill language addressing the critical needs of our nation’s freight gateways, corridors and hubs,” the Coalition stated. “Investment in this essential driver now will pay dividends in the near future and for generations to come.”
Although the progress alluded to may bring forth a full authorization bill sooner rather than later, this joint statement by the Environment and Public Works Committee recalls in some ways the Commerce Committee’s bill of a couple of years ago establishing principles that they have adhered to in subsequent ‘pieces’ of authorization-targeted legislation. That approach has had a useful effect in allowing the Committee Members to develop specific legislative proposals, such as the FREIGHT Act sponsored by Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) that are consistent with the Committee’s direction for authorization.
Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), James Inhofe (R-OK), Max Baucus (D-MT) and David Vitter (R-LA) last week announced together that Senate Environment and Public Works Committee members are making “great progress on a new transportation authorization bill:”
"We are pleased to announce the great progress we have made on a new transportation authorization bill,” the Senators noted in their joint statement. “Throughout the 25 transportation hearings convened by this Committee, including an unprecedented joint appearance by Tom Donohue of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO, we heard that there is tremendous support from businesses, workers, and the American people for a transportation bill that leverages our federal dollars while maintaining a responsible fiscal path.
“It is no secret that the four of us represent very different political views, but we have found common ground in the belief that building highways, bridges, and transportation systems is an important responsibility of the federal government, in cooperation with state and local governments and the private sector,” the statement noted.
The Coalition for American’s Gateways and Trade Corridors is by no means the only group providing feedback and recommendations to Congress as it considers reauthorizing funding for surface transportation.
In April, the National Governors Association (NGA), the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the National League of Cities (NLC) announced that their organizations had jointly agreed on a set of “principles” they say should guide transportation funding efforts for the future. They offered seven policy principles to help guide Congress as it begins to debate surface transportation reauthorization legislation.