Major media outlets across the United States are streaming headlines of the implications of the midterm election results. Analysts debate what the loss of congressional seats from the president’s political party will have on future legislation. While many may think I am referring to our most recent election results, these events were after the midterm elections of George W. Bush’s first term in office, when his party lost numerous congressional seats. What comes around goes around, or as New York Yankees great Yogi Berra stated, “Deja vu all over again.”
While Capitol Hill sorts through all of the upcoming changes and a wave of new government aides replace the old guard, it’s anyone’s guess what effects these changes will have on transportation reauthorization or fending off the insolvency of our nation’s transportation fund.
The issues being discussed and receiving the most attention are immigration, health care, potential tax reform care and, yes, the Affordable Care Act, which is going to get another review. While these are important topics and deserve attention, it’s important to remember that transportation funding runs out May 31, 2015. Our colleagues at the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) are showcasing options to raise the necessary transportation funding. These options include an increase on taxes for gas and diesel fuel consumption or charging drivers for miles driven. Of course, these ideas have their critics. But is not funding roads, bridges, highways, transit, light rail, and intermodal centers really an option?
As legislative leaders return from their victory parties or from licking their wounds, let’s collectively seek their attention on our nation’s worn infrastructure and investing in mobility. An investment will have a positive effect today and help drive economic growth tomorrow.