AASHTO tells Senate: ‘Transportation investment essential to meeting today’s key national priorities’
Transportation investment is essential to meeting today’s key national priorities: sustaining an export-led economic recovery, growing private-sector jobs, reducing the national debt and deficit, and keeping jobs in America, Susan Martinovich, president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and director of the Nevada Department of Transportation, told a key Senate committee at a July 21 hearing.
Martinovich, who appeared before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee during a hearing regarding Legislative Issues for Transportation Reauthorization, thanked committee leaders for advancing a bipartisan reauthorization measure.
“We recognize that in this time of economic and fiscal distress, producing a bipartisan bill requires tremendous cooperation on all sides, and we applaud your efforts,” Martinovich testified.
Senate EPW Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) has outlined a two-year, $109 billion surface transportation reauthorization bill that would maintain current funding levels.
Martinovich told the committee that by maintaining current funding levels for surface transportation, the bill would sustain more than 500,000 jobs and preserve existing transportation infrastructure, enabling the long-term economic competitiveness of the United States. She urged the committee members to work with the Senate Finance Committee to find the offsets and revenues necessary to fill the estimated $6 billion annual funding gap identified in the bill.
Martinovich singled out three policy reforms in the committee’s bill that state DOTs are especially supportive of: “The expansion and enhancement to the TIFIA loan and loan-guarantee-program, the provisions to reduce bureaucratic hurdles for projects with no significant environmental impacts, and provisions to accelerate project approvals within specified deadlines. We hope your bill will also encourage increased cooperation with the regulatory agencies.”
Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation Gary Ridley also testified at the hearing about the need for regulatory reform.
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