U.S. transportation infrastructure is in dire need of fixing and will require funding from multiple sources, a member of Congress said today [Jan. 28] as Jump Start 2019, presented by SMC3, leaps into gear in suburban Atlanta.
“The question is never whether we need to invest in transportation infrastructure,” U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson, R-Georgia, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said in opening remarks. “The question is how do we invest in transportation infrastructure and how do we pay for it.”
A combination of several funding means is likely going to be needed, Ferguson said before the gathering of more than 550 leaders of the less-than-truckload industry and related disciplines at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel & Convention Center in Cobb County, Georgia.
Ferguson decried what he termed “a very dysfunctional process” for federal funding in the inability of legislators to advance a plan to make good on the $500 billion pledge to repair the nation’s crumbling infrastructure made by President Trump while on the 2016 the campaign trail.
While there is “a sense of urgency” on the part of legislators across party lines, as well as the president, to come up with funding, the top priority, Ferguson said, is anticipated to be on repairs and maintenance of existing infrastructure.
“The No. 1 issue is the maintenance of what we’ve already got,” he said.
As for how to pay, Ferguson suggested that he expects to see use of a combination of fuel tax revenues, a vehicle-miles-traveled levy (on commercial vehicles but not personal cars), user fees, asset recycling and tolling. He said technology and workforce development efforts are apt to play roles, too.
“We’re going to have to look at a combination of things,” he said. “We’ve got to figure out the project list and how to pay for it.”
Comprehensive coverage of Jump Start 2019, including reception photos, is slated to appear in print in the Feb. 11 edition of AJOT.