The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), in partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce-led Americans for Transportation Mobility (ATM) coalition and other industry groups have launched a new advertising and grassroots campaign, "Make Transportation Job #1," which is focused on pressuring Congress to pass the overdue, multiyear surface transportation investment bill. ARTBA serves as an ATM vice chair.
The American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act is scheduled to be marked up during the week of Jan. 30, according to statements made by Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) during the Transportation Research Board’s (TRB) Annual Meeting this week. The act is a five-year bill that would authorize transportation programs at their current levels, using funds in the Highway Trust Fund plus funds from other sources. Shuster, a member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, participated in a TRB session on “The Future of the Federal Role in Transportation” Wednesday morning. Playing counterpoint to Shuster at the session was Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.).
After mark-up, the bill will go to the floor of the House of Representatives for debate and vote, probably during the week of Feb. 6, according to Shuster.
The ATM delivered an open letter to Congress Jan. 25 urging action. It was signed by more than 1,000 entities from all 50 states, including many ARTBA members, and marks the launch of an effort to tell Congress to "Make Transportation Job #1" and to pass a highway and transit bill this spring.
The current highway and transit authorization law, known as SAFETEA-LU, expired nearly 850 days ago. The programs have been operating under a series of short-term funding extensions since Oct. 1, 2009, and the current one ends on March 31. Leaders in the House and Senate have expressed their intention to move forward on their respective measures soon.
"Our message to the Congress is simple: 'It's time to do your job.' Pass a properly funded surface transportation bill to kick-start the economy and get America moving again," ARTBA President Pete Ruane said.
The coalition is launching a six-figure ad campaign in the nation's capital and key states and districts around the country over the month of February, including television, radio and on-line ads. The "Make Transportation Job #1 Campaign" will also include a radio tour and a grassroots initiative over the February Congressional recess.
The ATM is a nationwide effort by business, labor, transportation organizations and concerned citizens to advocate for improved and increased investment in the nation's surface transportation infrastructure.