Statement by AAA CEO & President Bob Darbelnet on the nomination of Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx as the new US DOT Secretary
April 29th, 2013 by admin
(WASHINGTON, April 29, 2013) “AAA is encouraged by President Obama’s nomination of Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx to be the new U.S. Secretary of Transportation. We look forward to working with Mayor Foxx once confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and we are hopeful that he will help make transportation a top national priority. Mayor Foxx will face many challenges because the nation must address a significant transportation funding shortfall, and there are still too many Americans losing their lives on the nation’s roadways.
AAA appreciates retiring Secretary Ray LaHood’s unwavering commitment and bipartisanship in achieving national transportation goals. Secretary LaHood helped raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving and worked with AAA and other stakeholders towards a national goal of zero traffic deaths. His bipartisan efforts also helped achieve passage of a multi-year transportation bill, MAP-21, which included significant program reform and added funds for transportation.”
March 21st, 2013 by admin
Statement by AAA President & CEO Robert L. Darbelnet:
“Today’s action by the U.S. House of Representatives in passing a continuing resolution is a victory for highway safety. The U.S. Senate served the nation’s interests through a bipartisan effort to ensure that MAP-21′s highway safety programs were adequately funded, which President Obama supported. Over the last few weeks, AAA clubs from around the country weighed in to get this done.
Safety funding comes at a crucial time, as we are now seeing a slight uptick in roadway fatalities. Today’s action was a good example of bipartisan collaboration that will help deliver better transportation solutions for the American people.”
March 19th, 2013 by admin
“The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) today gave the nation’s bridges a “C+” grade, up from a “C” four years ago; and roads got a “D” grade, up from a “D-” in 2009. The good news for drivers is that the condition of the nation’s roads and bridges has improved slightly since the last report card was issued. The bad news is grades like these aren’t going to get us where we need to go in terms of safety, mobility or economic recovery.
We don’t want a C+ economy, and can’t settle for a D, or even C+ transportation system. We need Congress to take the lead, work toward a long term funding solution and ensure the American public understands the importance of investing in our transportation system before we fall further behind.”
February 12th, 2013 by admin
Statement by AAA’s President and CEO Robert Darbelnet in Response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address
“President Obama’s support for transportation infrastructure in tonight’s State of the Union address is of critical importance to millions of American motorists that depend on safe roads and bridges to support their livelihoods and their families.
“America’s Interstate Highway System became the envy of the world decades ago because our nation’s leaders worked together to implement far-reaching polices of historic importance. The leaders of the time did not let the political risks detract them from developing a highway network that would stand as a monument to the engineering excellence of the United States.
“It is no secret that a great political divide and considerable funding issues have created significant road blocks to sustaining a safe and an improved infrastructure. Every day millions of frustrated Americans lose valuable time and money waiting in traffic, and they are relying on their elected officials to provide relief.
“AAA urges both the President and Congress to prioritize transportation this year to ensure that American’s can get to work, go to school and travel from state to state on roads that once again become the most efficient, safe and reliable in the world.”
September 19th, 2012 by admin
(WASHINGTON, September 19, 2012) “I am deeply concerned that both Congress and President Obama have agreed to new FY 2013 federal spending levels that fail to implement the funding and safety gains planned in the recently adopted transportation law. The continuing resolution agreement breaks a promise made by both parties earlier this year to fully fund road, bridge and transit systems and new safety programs designed to reduce distracted driving and improve teen driver safety. AAA will work to ensure that critical funds are restored and vital safety programs are implemented as soon as possible.”
September 13th, 2012 by admin
(BOSTON, September 13, 2012) — Transportation infrastructure may not be the most glamorous work of government, but it is a crucial part of the state’s growth strategy, Governor Deval Patrick said earlier today at a meeting of the national Board of Directors of AAA.
The Governor said improving the state’s roads, rails and bridges – in particular, through the five-year plan supported by a newly signed $1.5 billion transportation bond bill – will create jobs and a platform for future economic development.
“Increasingly, I think it is incumbent upon us to connect transportation strategy with economic development strategy,” Patrick said. “We’re talking about a train to the South Coast – to New Bedford and Fall River. It’s not just about convenience; it’s about opening up that region to the innovation economy in Boston. We need to think that way, talk that way, plan our transportation from that perspective, so people get a sense of the whole thing.”
The AAA Board held its quarterly meeting at the Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common hotel.
“This is the first time a sitting Governor has addressed AAA’s national Board of Directors,” said Boston attorney and former federal prosecutor Wayne A. Budd, national AAA Board Chairman and board member at AAA Southern New England. “Issues affecting the motoring and traveling public are of great interest to AAA, and we welcome Governor Patrick’s insights and views on these issues.”
Governor Patrick discussed the value of public-private partnerships such as the one that has allowed six AAA offices to offer select Registry of Motor Vehicles services.
“It has really not just relieved the pressure on our Registry of Motor Vehicles, but frankly, it has brought a more effective service to people in a greater range of convenient locations,” Patrick said. “It has made a difference, and it has helped in a time of stress on the budget.”
Governor Patrick’s plans for improving roads and bridges and developing a long-term strategic plan for transportation improvements in the Commonwealth won enthusiastic support and praise from AAA board members attending the meeting.
“Traffic safety and transportation-related advocacy are a major part of AAA’s national strategic focus, “ said Mark A. Shaw, AAA Southern New England President and CEO and national AAA Board member. “We have worked with the Patrick administration on several matters of interest to our Massachusetts members, and plan for more collaboration in the future.”
On the issue of a primary seatbelt law, for which AAA has long advocated, the Governor said the medical toll of unbelted crashes upsets him. The auto club plans to renew its campaign for a primary seatbelt law in the next legislative session.
June 8th, 2012 by admin
(WASHINGTON, June 8, 2012) Today, President Obama once again cited the deteriorating condition of the nation’s infrastructure and the need for Congress to act to improve it. As a nation, we’ve underinvested in transportation for years, resulting in a backlog of needs, poor conditions and a substantial funding gap.
The federal transportation program is a few short weeks away from expiring unless Congress can move quickly to demonstrate their ability to negotiate and work towards a long-term transportation bill that will meet the nation’s mobility and safety needs. Transportation is not a partisan issue – it is time for Congress to act.
Learn more at MakingAmericaStronger.AAA.com
September 8th, 2011 by admin
WASHINGTON, D.C., September 8, 2011
AAA Encouraged by Boxer/Inhofe Transportation Bill
“AAA commends U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Ranking Member James Inhofe (R-OK) for their bipartisan action to extend the surface transportation program. Congress must not fail in swiftly delivering this measure to the President before the program expires on September 30, 2011. Failure by Congress to act would ultimately impact transportation safety, mobility, and emergency response operations, would threaten our national economic competitiveness, as well as jeopardize thousands of jobs across the country. Beyond the short-term extension, both parties must also continue to work towards a long overdue multi-year highway and transit bill in the same spirit of cooperation. We expect the President to encourage this important next step in his address to Congress tonight.
The President is correct when he says our nation’s aging roads, bridges and transit systems are in a dire need of an upgrade. For the past several years, AAA has called on lawmakers to institute reforms that would create a more accountable and results-driven program. Such actions are critical to restoring the public’s trust in the ability of government to spend transportation user fees wisely. The time is now for Congress and the White House to take bipartisan action and deliver on a transportation bill that makes America stronger and keeps the economy, and the American people, moving into the future.”
Statement by Kathleen Bower, AAA Vice President of Public Affairs on President Obama’s Infrastructure Remarks
August 31st, 2011 by admin
WASHINGTON, D.C. – 8/31/2011
“AAA appreciates President Obama’s leadership and ongoing efforts to focus attention on the importance of transportation to the U.S. economy. In order to keep the American economy, and the American people, moving in the near term, Congress must pass a short-term highway and transit program extension by September 30, 2011.
Of critical importance is an extension of the federal gas tax by September 30. Without this necessary revenue stream, the ability of states and localities to complete their approved transportation safety and construction improvement plans would be severely compromised.
Following a short-term extension by Congress, both parties in both chambers of Congress must continue to make progress on the enactment of a new, multi-year surface transportation authorization bill that will provide recognizable improvements in safety, congestion relief and system reliability. In the coming days and weeks, AAA will be active across the country urging lawmakers to work on a bipartisan solution to meet the transportation challenges of the 21st century.”
July 7th, 2011 by admin
President Barack Obama
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
AAA applauds the important work you and Members of Congress are undertaking to help set our nation on a sustainable fiscal path. As you work to improve the nation’s economic situation, I encourage you to consider the role a sound transportation policy can play and, importantly, the opportunity to fund it through new revenue. In short, an investment in America’s transportation infrastructure will make the nation more competitive, enhance our mobility, improve traffic safety, stimulate the economy and can be funded by a user supported tax.
Given the critical importance of transportation to the nation’s economy, AAA strongly believes the enactment of a well-funded, multi-year surface transportation program should be a top legislative priority. Investment in transportation is an investment in sustained economic growth, as well as improved safety and mobility. We know from past research that the majority of Americans want transportation improvements and would be willing to pay for them if they believed they would see real benefits. The public is interested in accountability, results, and the ability to see how increased investment improves their travel experience.
As you know, the federal Highway Trust Fund is on life support. Putting the trust fund back on firm footing and ending future General Fund bailouts would serve the national interest without contributing to the deficit. Returning the federal transportation program to a user-paid system is a recommendation worthy of your endorsement. Two federal commissions and a number of credible experts have concluded that the federal gas tax remains the best way to fund transportation at least for the next decade. However, current revenues cannot sustain the transportation program we have, let alone the program we need to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.
AAA is on record in support of a gas tax increase, provided it’s tied to a significantly restructured federal transportation program that is performance-based and ensures greater accountability and transparency. While the nation’s economic challenges may temper support for new taxes, a user-supported funding source exists for the much needed investment in transportation infrastructure.
We are undeniably at a crossroads with the nation’s infrastructure and we can’t put off the tough decisions any longer. Continuing to do so not only compromises our economic vitality, but the safety of motorists and system users.
Transportation has traditionally been a bipartisan issue. With your leadership I am confident that a comprehensive package of transportation reforms and accountability measures can be crafted that will meet with public approval.
Robert L. Darbelnet
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
Speaker of the House John Boehner
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
Senator Barbara Boxer
Representative John Mica