The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, under the leadership of Chairman John Mica (R-FL), released a six-year, multi-modal surface transportation authorization bill last week. CTAI commends the Chairman and the Committee for their efforts to expand project financing, streamline project delivery, and simplify federal grant programs. However, CTAI is deeply disappointed in the bill’s investment level, which is miserably short of what is required to address the transportation infrastructure investment needs across the nation. The proposal authorizes $35B per year which ismore than 30% less than the amount currently authorized under SAFETEA-LU.
As a state that relies heavily on federal funding, Idaho will be deeply impacted by the proposed cut of more than $8 million to our public transportation systems. This cut will lead to severe reductions in transportation services for many individuals across the state and will equate to a loss of more than 300 jobs. With high gas prices, a slow economy, and increased ridership, now is not the time to implement cuts to the national transportation system. According to numerous experts, including the American Society of Civil Engineers, the U.S. needs to invest an additional $1 trillion beyond current levels in the next ten years just to maintain a state of good repair and meet demand.
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson, in conjunction with three other Congressmen, wrote a letter to Chairman Mica and Ranking Member Nick Rahall urging them to “fund surface transportation at a robust level, higher than or at least equal to the current funding level”. These Congressmen understand the real financial impact that crumbling infrastructure, congestion, and limited mobilitywill have on American businesses and families.
CTAI encourages you to take a moment to commend Congressman Mike Simpson for supporting a transportation bill that will put Americans back to work, provide businesses with relief from the costs of congestion and the insecurity of unreliable, inadequate infrastructure. In addition, please urge the remaining Idaho Congressional Delegation to move forward with an authorization bill that increases transportation investment or at the very least, maintains current funding levels.