Graves: Real roads, real jobs require real money
Sep 8, 2011 10:49 AM
With President Obama preparing to outline his plans to create jobs in a stagnant economy, American Trucking Associations President and CEO Bill Graves says the country needs concrete proposals, with clearly identified sources of revenue, and not more vague commitments.
“In his speech tonight, President Obama needs to do more than pay lip service to our nation’s critical need for more jobs and better roads and bridges,” Graves says. “For months all we’ve heard from the president, as well as members of Congress, is ambiguous calls for ‘more infrastructure spending,’ without clearly and simply explaining how much is ‘more’ and where those funds are to come from.
“This country needs Congress to make a decision on how to pay for our roads and bridges, and by simply expressing support for the idea of infrastructure without laying out details, the president and Congress are abdicating their responsibilities. No matter what the president proposes tonight, Americans deserve to be given details about how much money he wants to spend and what he wants to spend it on, not more platitudes about the importance of infrastructure spending.”
As part of that debate, Graves again emphasized the need to avoid the siren song of infrastructure banks or public-private partnerships at the expense of stable and reliable sources of funding.
“Study after study, including one by the Department of Transportation’s own inspector general, has shown that private-sector solutions to our infrastructure act as an additional tax on Americans with no benefits to users,” Graves says. “Any private sector entity investing in infrastructure is going to be looking for a return on its investment, and payments to the private sector will take money out of travelers’ pockets and put it into portfolios rather than pavement.
“For nearly 60 years, we’ve paid for our roads and bridges through the federal fuel tax and we strongly believe that policymakers should be honest about that tax’s ability to continue to fund our investment and increase it to the necessary levels.”
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