Two of the nation's leading transportation advocacy organizations have joined forces to launch a radio campaign urging key members of Congress to stop playing games with federal transportation funding and find a permanent solution for the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF).
The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) and the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) are timing the campaign to coincide with a May 31 deadline to extend funding through the HTF for the federal highway and transit program. With just weeks to go, congressional leaders have still not reached agreement on a course of action. The continued uncertainty is causing states to delay or cancel transportation improvement projects.
ARTBA and APTA are running 30-second spots in states and districts represented by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and five others.
The script reads:
For the past seven years, our presidents and the Congress have added over $50 billion to our nation’s debt … just to maintain current road and public transit funding. Now they’re talking about doing it again.
That puts a huge burden on future generations. And it’s wrong.
It’s guaranteeing our kids will have worse debt… traffic congestion and poor infrastructure.
Tell [Congressman/Senator…] you’re tired of funny money politics and budget schemes on transportation. It’s not fair to our kids.
Listen to the ad targeting Rep. Paul Ryan.
The other leaders targeted in the radio ads are House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), and Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)
ARTBA and APTA are pushing Congress to agree on a sustainable funding source for the HTF and then pivot to passage of a multi-year highway and public transit investment bill that gives states and communities the additional resources necessary to improve their infrastructure networks.
In April, ARTBA launched a grassroots digital campaign using the hashtag #fixthetrustfund, which allows members and industry supporters to reach their senators and representatives through email, Twitter and Facebook posts. Most members of Congress have such accounts. The campaign is accessible at p2a.co/ARTBA.
Last month, APTA organized more than 150 “Stand Up for Transportation Day” community events across the country to call attention to the need for a long-term sustainable transportation bill.