LaHood Calls for Congress to Pass a Long-Term Transportation Bill

June 19, 2015

On June 18, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation and current co-chair of Building America’s Future Ray LaHood testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance during the hearing “Dead End, No Turn Around, Danger Ahead: Challenges to the Future of Highway Funding,” urging Congress to pass a long-term and robust transportation bill to improve the economy, create jobs, ensure the safety of American travelers and commuters, and enhance our country’s economic competitiveness.

LaHood noted that the underinvestment in our nation’s roads, bridges, airports, seaports and broadband is negatively causing an undue burden on citizens, who are constantly snarled by travel delays and wasting millions of collective hours stuck in traffic or on the tarmac. LaHood also testified to the unsafe conditions of the roads, bridges, and transit that Americans use every day due to a lack of investment and outdated infrastructure. He mentioned the recent Amtrak derailment in Pennsylvania as an example of a “wake-up call” for Americans who are seriously concerned about safety on the country’s transportation network.

“Whether it’s on our roads, in the air, in our ports or on our rails – our nation’s infrastructure is falling apart. It is causing us to lose our economic competitiveness and it is a drag on our quality of life,” said former U.S. Secretary of Transportation and current co-chair of Building America’s Future Ray LaHood. “The nation’s roads are essentially one big pothole, and the tens of thousands of bridges that millions of Americans drive across every day are in dire need of repair.”

In addition to the unsafe conditions and frustrating delays, LaHood warned the Finance Committee that the lack of investment in American infrastructure has had a negative impact on our country’s global competitiveness, with businesses choosing to build factories and distribution centers in countries with more modern transportation systems.

“If America wants to maintain its global economic competitiveness we must reverse course and pass a big, bold reauthorization bill that substantially increases the amount of money available to rebuild and modernize our roads, rails, bridges and runways. It is time to reject the Band-Aid approach and demonstrate some bold courage and leadership,” said LaHood.

He said lurching from crisis to crisis is untenable for state departments of transportation, and the role the federal government plays is crucial in completing large-scale projects around the country.

“It is past time for Washington to step up and produce a long term transportation plan that is robust and sustainable,” said LaHood. “To do otherwise would amount to putting a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound. America needs a big strategic plan with a vision – not another short term bill that isn’t even enough to fill the nation’s potholes.”