Summit examines link between transportation, economic growth

Tina Grady Barbaccia

December 2, 2011

Five former U.S. transportation secretaries and the chairman of the House Transportation Committee participated in a transportation summit this week in Washington, D.C., at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center that examined the link between transportation and economic growth and how best to make the case to the American public for infrastructure repair.

In one panel, former transportation secretaries who served under every president from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush engaged in a lively discussion about some of the urgent transportation problems facing the country.

Among the issues discussed were the federal gas tax, which was last increased in 1993, and congressional earmarks, some of which are diverting funds to pet projects. The secretaries agreed about the need for action, but also expressed differing views on some issues, such as whether the country should move forward with high-speed passenger rail projects.

The former secretaries taking part in the event were James Burnley, Samuel Skinner, Rodney Slater, Norman Mineta, and Mary Peters.

The secretaries agreed that policymakers must do a better job communicating the need for infrastructure repair to the public, according to the University of Virginia press statement.

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