Pete Ruane, president and CEO of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, had strong praise today for House T&I Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica, but equally strong criticism of the budget constraints proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Ruane issued the following statement:
"We commend House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) for his leadership in moving this long-overdue process forward. Despite strong political headwinds, he has produced a proposal with much needed reforms that would reduce red tape and bureaucratic hurdles that stand in the way of many important projects critical to our economic vitality. His goal of expediting product delivery and facilitating public-private partnerships is clearly a step in the right direction.
"We realize it's difficult to write such an important and far-reaching bill under the constraints of false budget choices. But every member of the House needs to clearly understand that any highway and transit program bill that is constrained by the existing revenue stream into the Highway Trust Fund — as proposed in the Ryan budget — would be a sure-fire job killer. The Ryan approach would also ensure further significant declines in system performance which will negatively impact U.S. business productivity and international competitiveness.
"As the process moves forward, we will work to increase the proposed investment levels. "We urge the House leadership to schedule a floor vote on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee's highway/transit program bill before the August recess and let the House exercise its will. Doing nothing on this legislation is not an option because that also would guarantee greater unemployment in the transportation construction industry and the economy at-large."
With that said, "doing nothing" is a very real risk at this point amidst tense arguments in Congress over the federal budget and raising of the debt ceiling. It's not at all unlikely that a vote could be pushed into the fall - with little chance of a bill's enactment until 2012 - if action is stalled further. Now more than ever is the time to keep the pressure on. Learn how by visiting the ARTBA Grassroots Action Center. It features information on how to get started with your own grassroots campaign, a searchable database of elected officials and more.