In a sign of the times, the president of a prominent industry group has gone on record stating that the nation's shippers would be willing to accept higher fees or taxes to help finance badly needed improvements to the nation's infrastructure. Speaking at the National Industrial Transportation League's annual meeting in November, Bruce J. Carlton, the group's president, said that given the situation's gravity, users of transport services are willing to pay a higher user fee to fund a modernized infrastructure and are more amenable than in the past to accept an increase in diesel fuel taxes. "Shippers get it," he said.
Infrastructure issues are expected to take on increased importance in the incoming Obama administration and on Capitol Hill. And NITL will be working on a comprehensive legislative initiative to shore up the nation's crumbling network of roads, bridges, and tunnels. "It is our number one legislative project," Carlton said. The initiative, one of the most ambitious in NITL's 101-year history, will lay out a 20- to 30-year blueprint for infrastructure modernization
Still, that's no guarantee of quick action. Washington insiders attending the conference predict it will take at least two years for any infrastructure legislation to reach President-Elect Barack Obama's desk.