WASHINGTON - User fee financing of surface transportation improvements is a "marvelous invention," sound public policy and a model envied around the world, Past Chairman of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) Mike Walton told President Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness September 1.
The Council, charged with exploring ways to promote growth and create jobs in the U.S., focused on the role of transportation investment at a hearing held at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
Walton, the Ernest H. Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering at The University of Texas, represented ARTBA at the event. He said the federal Highway Trust Fund has short-term revenue challenges that should be addressed so the nation can continue making infrastructure improvements.
Walton also focused his comments on the nearly two-year delayed federal highway and transit reauthorization bill. "One of the most powerful things Congress can do to support existing jobs, create new ones and strengthen the foundation of U.S. global competitiveness is to pass a robust multi-year reauthorization of the federal highway and transit programs in 2011," he said.
Walton outlined a series of financing options available to federal policymakers to help boost investment in the nation's aging infrastructure systems, and highlighted a series of federal policy reforms to speed the delivery of transportation improvements.
Government and business leaders appearing at the hearing included U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Tom Donohue, Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly and BNSF Railway CEO Matt Rose.