September 19th, 2012 by Amanda Shapiro
(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 Amanda Shapiro
(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.
September 8th, 2011 by Amanda Shapiro
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.”
July 7th, 2011 by Amanda Shapiro
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