The chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America, Stephen E. Sandherr, issued the following statement in response to the passage of a surface transportation measure by the members of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee:
"The fact that a new highway and transit bill proposed by Senators Vitter and Boxer received the bipartisan backing of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee shows members of both parties understand the value of investing in our aging surface transportation systems. This bill will make it significantly easier for state and local transportation officials to plan for and fund projects to rebuild bridges, repair roads and improve transit options. More important, it continues the work started in the prior transportation law of streamlining the federal review process so new projects can be reviewed and approved within a more reasonable time frame.
"Senators and representatives from both parties should follow the Committee's lead and swiftly pass this vital economic measure before the current legislation expires at the end of September. They also must act now to keep the federal Highway Trust Fund solvent for years to come. As our national highway system ages and many roads and bridges exceed their life span, members of Congress need to figure out how we are going to cover the growing costs of maintaining and expanding these critical public assets. If we don't, too many businesses and commuters will be forced to bear the cost of more traffic delays, crashes and vehicle repairs as billions of dollars worth of construction projects come to a halt this summer.
"That is why the members of the Associated General Contractors of America will continue to participate in the Hardhats for Highways campaign that is designed to educate members of Congress about the many local economic benefits of investing in our roads, bridges and transit systems. To date, construction workers and owners participating in this campaign have sent nearly 6,000 messages to 406 members of Congress urging their support for a new surface transportation bill and new revenues for the Highway Trust Fund. We will continue to make our case across the country and in D.C. until we have sustainable, robust funding in place and a new federal transportation law enacted."