The Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors commended President Obama’s emphasis on infrastructure’s role in supporting the economy during his 2015 State of the Union address.
Comments by Executive Director Leslie Blakey
Policies, announced last week, to incentivize innovative financing and private investment in public infrastructure will be a boon, particularly, to our freight network as gateways and corridors often encompass private industry partners and facilities that have a natural interest in improving public system parts. Adding new municipal bonding instruments, accelerating TIFIA projects, speeding permitting, and providing “gap” funding that rewards projects with high levels of non-federal funding commitments can all be part of the solution to address our goods movement infrastructure deficiencies.
The President is right to bear down on all that the Administration can do to leverage public-private partnership opportunities, which are considerable for U.S. infrastructure. To maximize their impact, these efforts must be matched with a well-funded multi-year surface transportation authorization with a strong commitment to dedicated freight project funding. Congress and the Administration will need to work swiftly in the New Year to find a mutually agreeable path forward that prioritizes investment in the transportation system that built our nation’s commerce.
The International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association wants to see specific actions.
Comments from Executive Director Patrick D. Jones:
In his State of the Union Address tonight, President Obama said that Republicans and Democrats must work together to make critical repairs and improvements to our long-neglected transportation infrastructure. As the economy starts back on the right track, Congress can rescue this vital part of our economic engine from further deterioration.
The president and the 114th Congress must acknowledge that current federal resources are too limited to satisfy the states' urgent surface transportation needs. Before another bridge collapses, Congress must examine every revenue source to find sustainable ways to build, maintain, and reconstruct our nation’s bridges, tunnels and highways.
States are more than willing to do their share to accomplish their transportation goals. IBTTA urges the president and Congress to work together to provide states with greater flexibility to meet their individual transportation funding needs—including the right to use tolling on their existing Interstate highways for the purpose of reconstruction.
Historically, tolling has played a key role in driving the nation's economy. Tolls helped build the roads, tunnels and bridges that expanded commerce, drove our westward expansion, and pulled us out of the Great Depression. Today, states can use tolling to build a transportation system that paves the way for better jobs, better wages and a better life for America's middle-class.
Tolling is one of the most powerful, effective and time-tested tools in the funding toolbox. IBTTA hopes that the president and Congress fulfill their promise to work together to give states the key to unlock this critical funding.