US Senator John Barrasso said during a hearing that he wants to see a five-year surface transportation funding bill approved by the committee by 1 August.
In a report by the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA), Barrasso, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, warned: “If we do not pass a long-term surface transportation bill, and instead pass a series of short-term extensions, we will undermine our states’ abilities to plan for these challenges. That is not a good option. We have an obligation to get this done. Our highway infrastructure legislation will be for all of America.”
The NSSGA welcomed the focus from chairman Barrasso and ranking member Tom Carper, D-Del., on surface transportation funding. The association has met with staff and senators on the committee to emphasize the need for a long-term and sustainably-funded bill.
On the subject of funding surface transportation projects, Barrasso noted that the committees of jurisdiction should focus on sustainable funding driven by all users of the nation’s infrastructure.
“I am committed to making sure that everyone who uses the roads contributes to maintaining and improving them,” he continued. “That must include electric vehicles and other alternative fuel vehicles which will become an increasing share of the cars on the roads.”
Barrasso insisted that regulations must also be streamlined in order to lower the costs of infrastructure projects.
“By cutting Washington red tape, highway projects can get done better, faster, cheaper, and smarter. In our legislation, we must – reduce the time it takes for federal permitting, we need to lower paperwork burdens on states, and we need to incorporate innovative construction approaches and other technologies,” he concluded.
Sen. Carper also voiced support for marking up the bill this summer, saying: “While none of us travels with the goal of sitting in traffic or getting into an accident or worsening climate change, so many of our roadways are so outdated, in dangerous condition or in desperate need of redesign, that they are leading to outcomes that none of us want.”