U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance (NJ-7) today announced that he has joined with both House Republicans and Democrats in sending letters to President Obama and U.S. House Speaker John Boehner expressing support for a multi-year highway bill with a long-term, sustainable revenue source.
"Congress needs to pass a multi-year transportation infrastructure bill for one simple reason: jobs," Lance said. "Our goal is to show President Obama and our Republican leadership that there are many members of Congress on both sides of the aisle who strongly support a long-term highway proposal that rebuilds our Nation's deteriorating infrastructure, provides economic certainty for the transportation and construction industries and promotes long-term job growth."
In a letter to President Obama, Lance and a bipartisan group of legislators urged the President to work with Congress toward a six-year, fully funded and paid-for transportation bill: "To address these urgent economic, transportation and safety needs, we believe our country needs a six-year, fully funded and paid-for transportation reauthorization with investment above current levels," the lawmakers wrote.
In a second letter Lance joined more than 100 like-minded congressional Republicans in calling for a multi-year transportation bill rather than a short-term extension. The lawmakers urged Republican leaders to enact common-sense reforms to the federal transportation programs saying, "We are committed to eliminating waste, providing localities with more participation in project selection, speeding up the project approval process and getting people back to work. Congress should prioritize efforts to create efficiency, reduce bottle necks and cut red tape. Now is the time to reform and streamline the federal program so that it delivers value to taxpayers."
The current transportation bill has expired and is being funded based on a "continuing resolution" slated to expire in March 2012. If the next federal highway bill was funded based on the revenue available from the motor fuel tax fund alone, as it has been in the past, there would be 30 percent less cash available than in the most recent multi-year bill. That is largely because people are driving more fuel-efficient cars and are being more cautious about how much they drive in an era of higher gas costs.
Lance noted that President Obama has called for $40 billion in infrastructure funding in his jobs bill proposal and a multi-year transportation bill would be significantly more than that.
"Passage of a multi-year transportation bill has the strong support of both business groups and labor unions. How many other proposals can claim that support? It must be one of our top priorities before the Congress," Lance concluded.