Congress is moving forward on highway reauthorization and it is critical that lawmakers hear from their constituents about the need for urgent action, AED Vice President of Government Affairs Christian Klein told equipment distributors.
In a March 11 webinar, The Road Ahead for Highway Reauthorization, Klein surveyed the opportunities and challenges surrounding the push for a new, multiyear highway bill. With the highway program operating under a series of extensions since the latest surface transportation law (SAFETEA-LU) expired on Sept. 30, 2009, it is critical that Congress acts swiftly to restore certainty to construction equipment markets.
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and John Mica (R-FL) have made highway reauthorization a top priority. However, many notable speed bumps remain, including a shortage of resources, the ongoing debate over the size of the federal budget, and the scope of the governments role, Klein said.
Klein warned that a limited window exists for completing work on a new highway bill and encouraged industry leaders to urge their lawmakers to make reauthorization a top priority. Without significant progress in the coming months, transportation infrastructure advocates will bump into a presidential election year, further diminishing the chances of completing the highway reauthorization process this Congress.
All industry members are encouraged to attend the upcoming Washington Fly-In. Held May 11-13, 2011, AEDs Washington Fly-In will bring equipment dealer executives from across the country to Capitol Hill for briefings on the current political landscape and policy priorities for the industry. Attendees will then march into House and Senate offices to let their voices be heard! This kind of active participation sends a powerful message to lawmakers while reinforcing the associations actions in Washington. Click here to register for the Fly-In.
In the meantime, be sure to send a quick note to your representatives and senators encouraging them to make surface transportation reauthorization a top priority.