NSSGA Chairman on GROW AMERICA Act: ‘It is essential that Congress act now’
Following the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (U.S. DOT) announcement that Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx is sending a long-term highway bill to Congress, National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA) Chairman Paul I. Detwiler III said the association welcomes the bill, adding that “it is essential that Congress act now.”
The bill, dubbed the GROW AMERICA Act, reflects President Obama’s four-year, $302 billion reauthorization proposal.
Detwiler expressed that NSSGA wants to see swift action on the bill.
“We welcome the administration’s involvement in the reauthorization debate through introduction of a multi-year reauthorization bill,” Detwiler said in a written statement. “It is essential that Congress act now to address the funding crisis facing the Highway Trust Fund and then move to pass a multi-year reauthorization bill before expiration of the current law on Sept. 30.”
NSSGA President and CEO Mike Johnson said he commends Foxx and the administration creating a multi-year reauthorization bill.
“Funding to stabilize and provide future solvency to the Highway Trust Fund is essential,” Johnson said. “The provisions intended to further expedite permitting of projects and environmental reviews will also assist in moving forward many needed projects.“
Johnson also noted potential problems with the bill.
“However, we are somewhat concerned that the administration is relying on business tax reform to fund the bill,” Johnson continued. “While we support tax reform, it seems unlikely that Congress will be able to pass major tax legislation before the end of the year. There is broad agreement that an efficient and cost-effective surface transportation program is essential to economic growth, job creation and preserving America’s global competitiveness.”
Johnson reiterated that Congress needs to act quickly to prevent the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) from running out of money. The HTF is expected to become insolvent this summer if no action is taken.
“The clock is ticking,” Johnson said. “Congress, working on a bipartisan basis, should meet with the administration to deal with this pressing issue now.”