Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2015by Representative Earl Blumenauer
Posted on 2015-05-19
BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the gentleman's courtesy,
and I appreciate his leadership on this matter. He hit it right on the
We are in a situation, I am sad to say, having listened to my colleague a moment ago; the States will still have to worry. Two months doesn't give them a straight shot at a construction season, and there is still uncertainty.
I could have dusted off the speech I gave last summer where I said we would be right back here in the same spot, with uncertainty around the country; and the local governments, the State governments, the contractors don't deserve that.
But it is not the problem of the T and I Committee, as much as Ways and Means. You can't craft a bill unless you know how much money you have got to spend. I am embarrassed as a member of that committee that, in the 55 months my Republican colleagues have been in charge, we have not had a single hearing on transportation finance.
We hear certain things are off the table or not acceptable. It is interesting, we haven't raised the gas tax in [[Page H3335]] 22 years, but six States--six red States--have raised the gas tax already this year. Utah, Idaho, Georgia, South Dakota--these are not flaming bastions of liberalism. These are people who looked at the problem and decided they needed to step up, and they stepped up not to take the place of the Federal responsibility, but in anticipation that at some point, the Federal Government would meet its obligation for almost half of the major construction projects.
I would respectfully request that we dive in and see what we can do over the course of the next couple of months, but that the Ways and Means Committee spend one week listening to the men and women who build, operate, and use our Nation's infrastructure, spend a week, look at the items, consider maybe what Ronald Reagan thought was a good idea in 1982: raise the gas tax.
We can pass that bill out of committee in 1 week, and you can have the next couple of months to give America the bill it needs to rebuild and renew this great country.