January 18, 2011

LaHood: Transport funding bill to be signed by August recess

DOT secretary says he's confident Congress will transcend partisan differences to pass multiyear reauthorization law.

By Mark B. Solomon

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said today he was confident a multiyear bill to reauthorize the nation's surface transportation programs can be passed by Congress and signed into law by the August summer recess.

Speaking at the SMC3 annual winter meeting in Atlanta, LaHood said he was confident that the timetable could be met even with a Republican-controlled House of Representatives and pledges of spending austerity from some members of Congress. That's because Congress recognizes that transportation funding is a bipartisan issue that benefits the nation through improved infrastructure and enhanced job-creation, LaHood said.

"There are no Republican or Democratic runways. There are no Republican or Democratic roads. There are no Republican or Democratic bridges," he said.

The administration has proposed a six-year reauthorization to fund the nation's infrastructure programs, including a $50 billion front-end infusion. The most recent surface transport reauthorization law expired on Sept. 30, 2009. The program has been operating on a series of short-term extensions since then.

LaHood reiterated the Obama administration's opposition to a proposal to increase federal taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel to fund transportation programs, maintaining the White House's stance that it's unwise to raise fuel taxes during a period of high unemployment and still-uncertain economic prospects. The federal fuels tax has not been raised since 1993.

About the Author

Mark B. Solomon
Executive Editor - News
Mark Solomon joined DC VELOCITY as senior editor in August 2008, and was promoted to his current position on January 1, 2015. He has spent more than 30 years in the transportation, logistics and supply chain management fields as a journalist and public relations professional. From 1989 to 1994, he worked in Washington as a reporter for the Journal of Commerce, covering the aviation and trucking industries, the Department of Transportation, Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court. Prior to that, he worked for Traffic World for seven years in a similar role. From 1994 to 2008, Mr. Solomon ran Media-Based Solutions, a public relations firm based in Atlanta. He graduated in 1978 with a B.A. in journalism from The American University in Washington, D.C.

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