Transportation funding solution must be led at state level

November 21, 2010

This year’s election results suggest that any meaningful solution to Pennsylvania’s transportation funding problems must come from state leaders, not the Federal Government, according to a construction industry spokesman.

In a recent television appearance and at an annual industry gathering, Robert Latham, executive vice president of Associated Pennsylvania Constructors, said it is clear that a transportation funding initiative is not likely to emanate from Congress or the Obama administration.

“Waiting for the federal government to solve this problem would be a big mistake,” Latham said. “It’s just not going to happen anytime soon, given the lack of consensus, leadership and political will.”

He said the defeat of U.S. Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minnesota), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, was particularly devastating to transportation funding proponents. Oberstar was a leading advocate in Congress for addressing infrastructure needs, and even though the shift of power in the House would have reduced his role to that of ranking minority member, his leadership will be missed.

Latham noted that the industry is optimistic that a solution is achievable at the state level, however. Governor-elect Corbett and legislative leaders from both parties have expressed support for tackling the issue and crafting solutions within the first six months of next year.

“We’ve fallen so far behind that no solution will be easy,” Latham said. “But it’s also clear that failing to address our transportation needs will have far more costly consequences. There is growing recognition of that, which makes us optimistic that a comprehensive funding solution can be achieved.”

3 Comments on this post.

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  1. Randy Willis
    November 20, 2010 at 10:29 pm
  2. I couldn’t agree more. No one seems to care about the roads but they are vital to the success of our nation. Just look at what they are doing in other counties.

  3. jacqueline adele herndon
    April 18, 2011 at 8:48 pm
  4. The funding issues for transportation can be found in the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act signed by President Barack. Following are specific funding information:
    Transportation: 2.5.1 in the “ARRA” Legislation
    1) road and highway construction is the biggest single line infrastructure item.
    2) Grants:
    $48.1 billion, some in the form of Transportation Income Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grants: $27.5 billion for highway & bridge construction projects; $8 billion for intercity passenger rail projects; rail congestion grants with priority for high-speed rail; $6.9 billion for new equipment for public transportation projects (Federal Transit Administration) $1.5 billion for national surface transportation discretionary grants; $1.3 billion for Amtrak; $1.1 billion for airport improvements; $750 million for new public rail transportation construction & other fixed guideway systems; $750 million for existing public transportation systems maintenance; $200 million for FAA upgrades to air traffic control centers and towers, facilities and equipment; $100 million for improvements to domestic shipyards grants.