“I firmly believe Congress should move to enact a bill before the current extension of the previous surface transportation law (SAFETEA-LU) expires at the end of this year,” adds Walz. “I will continue to push my colleagues to enact a bill this year, because it will mean more jobs in the short and long term, right here in the United States.”
If and when the bill does start moving, the President is focused on high-speed rail, setting aside $50 billion based on the current plan.
“In 2009, Congress and the President invested heavily in rail, laying out a clear vision of an America where workers and tourists alike can use high-speed passenger rail [service] to travel the country cheaply and efficiently. In future funding bills, Congress will need to build on this investment, continuing to fund rail projects that are well-planned and meet a demonstrated need for high-speed, long-distance transportation.”
Walz has been helping to guide the legislation as it relates to rural America. Nearly 30 percent of his state’s population lives in rural, farm communities where transportation could mean an easier and more efficient way to market.
“Any new transportation bill needs to invest heavily in our country’s transportation infrastructure, providing badly needed funding to maintain and expand our roads, bridges, transit systems and passenger rail systems. I’ve introduced legislation, which was partially included in Chairman Oberstar’s first draft, to give rural America more of a say in transportation planning,” says Walz.
Walz also suggests that any new projects need to be completed within a few years, not more than a decade which is currently the norm for many projects.
“More than anything, I think the transportation industry needs a new surface transportation bill that provides needed funding, lays out a clear long-term vision and makes it easier to build projects quickly and efficiently. I’ll keep pushing my colleagues to move such a bill this year.”
It will be tough. Stay tuned. MT