Former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton figure prominently in a new radio and television ad campaign from two major transportation associations. The two presidents were on different ends of the political spectrum, but they were both strong supporters of transportation investment to create jobs and grow the American economy.
The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) and the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) aim to elevate the status of transportation investment in the ongoing Congressional debate about the federal budget and future investment priorities. They are calling on Congress to pass a well-funded, multiyear highway and public transportation bill this year. The most recent surface transportation authorization legislation expired on Sept. 30, 2009, and has been extended until September 2011.
In signing the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982, President Reagan said, “The state of our transportation system affects our commerce, our economy and our future. . . . Common sense tells us that it will cost a lot less to keep the system we have in good repair than to let it disintegrate and have to start over from scratch. . . . Clearly this program is an investment in tomorrow that we must make today.”
In signing the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century in 1998, President Clinton said, “Modernizing and building our roads, bridges and transit systems, . . . connecting millions of Americans to the economic mainstream, ushering in two decades of unparalleled growth.”
“Presidents Reagan and Clinton remind us that transportation is a bipartisan issue,” said William Millar, president of APTA. “We urge Congress and the administration to set aside their differences and work together to pass a well-funded, multiyear, multimodal bill that will create jobs and build our economy. It’s a win-win for Congress, for the administration and most importantly for the American people.”
“Presidents Reagan and Clinton knew, as did the nation’s founding fathers, that transportation infrastructure investment is a core function of the federal government,” ARTBA President & CEO Pete Ruane said. “It’s time for Congress and the president to embrace this responsibility. Transportation makes America work.”