Posts Tagged ‘funding’

Statement from AAA President and CEO Marshall L. Doney

AAA appreciates the president highlighting the importance of transportation infrastructure in his State of the Union address, but we had hoped he would take the opportunity to lay out a specific strategy to achieve his campaign promise of a largescale investment – $1 trillion total over 10 years – into our nation’s infrastructure. Roadways and bridges across the country need to be rebuilt and rehabbed.  Without significant investment, the situation will only worsen. We need to seriously address the state of transportation infrastructure in our country now because the safety and mobility of our citizens and the future of our economy depends on it.

Infrastructure is not a Democratic or Republican issue. However, the dilemma over how to pay for it has remained unsolved for decades. State officials have testified about the real needs on the ground and the shortfall of funds.  A thoughtful and modest increase in the federal gas tax, even just to match inflation, would provide an immediate stimulus to the Highway Trust Fund and help rebuild transportation in America, while giving our government more time to address long-term funding solutions to meet future transportation needs.

In order to adequately tackle the biggest problems facing our infrastructure, it is going to take cooperation and courage from many on both sides of the aisle. Now, it is time for our members of Congress to come together and show leadership by addressing the funding shortfall and providing a sustainable system for infrastructure maintenance and improvements. AAA will continue to support increased investment that will improve and modernize our nation’s infrastructure, and it is our hope that Congress and the president will eventually come together around that common goal.

 

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, June 24, 2015) AAA has released the following statement by Kathleen Bower, vice president of public affairs and international relations:

“AAA applauds the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee for quickly moving their bipartisan transportation reauthorization bill. This legislation is essential to repairing and improving our nation’s transportation infrastructure for the tens of millions of drivers who rely on roads and bridges every day. It is now up to the Senate Commerce, Banking and Finance Committees to follow the EPW Committee’s lead and act swiftly on their portions of the bill so this legislation can move to the Senate floor for debate before the current extension expires on July 31.

“How to fund a long-term transportation bill continues to be the ‘$100 billion question’ for our leaders in Congress. AAA, along with a broad coalition of stakeholders, supports an increase to the federal gas tax as the most viable, effective and immediate solution, provided the additional funds are invested in transportation improvements that benefit motorists. We urge Chairman Hatch and Ranking Member Wyden to commit to a vote on this solution in addition to the other funding mechanisms that will be considered by their committee.”

Michael Green Contact TileWASHINGTON, D.C, (March 30, 2015) – AAA’s CEO Bob Darbelnet has issued the following statement in response to the Department of Transportation’s introduction of the GROW America Act today, a bill to fund transportation and infrastructure improvements over six years.

“As states begin springtime road construction projects, AAA is pleased that Secretary Foxx and President Obama have put forward a blueprint for improving the nation’s roads and bridges. This transportation and infrastructure proposal promises to keep America globally competitive in a rapidly changing world.

“The goals of the GROW AMERICA Act are commendable.  For example, additional funding for NHTSA and its vehicle recall program should enhance driver safety. Improving performance incentives to maintain the quality of the nation’s roads and bridges should also help to restore driver confidence that highways are managed wisely and efficiently.

“Despite these improvements, we are disappointed the bill fails to identify a long-term and viable funding source to address the Highway Trust Fund shortfall.  Repatriation of corporate overseas profits might provide an infusion of money for construction and repairs, but it’s a temporary solution that does not solve our funding crisis.

“AAA continues to believe that increasing the federal gas tax is the most effective and sustainable way to pay for roads and bridges in the near term, provided the additional funds are invested in improvements that ease congestion and increase safety.”

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2015) AAA, the American Trucking Associations and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce delivered a joint letter to Congress today in support of increased transportation funding.

Dear Members of the 114th Congress,

AAA, the American Trucking Associations, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce welcome you for the 114th Congress. Our organizations are committed to improving our nation’s infrastructure system and look forward to working with you to fully fund the roads and bridges that are the backbone of American mobility and competitiveness.

Americans are frustrated with our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, including increasingly congested highways and deficient roads and bridges. Thirty-two percent of major roads are in poor or mediocre condition. This neglect costs the average driver $324 each year in additional vehicle repairs and operating costs. Commutes between home and work are longer than ever before, and the average American spends 38 hours each year stuck in traffic. Furthermore, congestion on the Interstate System alone costs freight trucks more than 141 million hours in wasted time, equivalent to 51,000 drivers sitting idle for a working year.

Fortunately, there is a simple solution to address this issue in the near-term: raise the federal fuels user fee, provided the funds are used to ease congestion and improve safety. While the impact of insufficient funding is evident, how we got here is not always clear. With this in mind, our organizations have put together an educational infographic on the Highway Trust Fund to serve as a primer for lawmakers and the general public as the funding of roads and bridges is considered this spring. That infographic can be found here.

There are many challenges that Congress must address this year, but we believe that finding a solution for funding the Highway Trust Fund is at the top of that list. Rather than continuing to resort to short-term funding patches that only delay tough decisions, our organizations support action to address the issue pragmatically, immediately and sustainably. While no one wants to pay more, we urge you to support an increase to the federal fuels user fee, provided the funds are used to ease congestion and improve safety, because it is the most cost efficient and straightforward way to provide a steady revenue stream to the Highway Trust Fund.

The last increase to the federal user fee for gasoline was 1993. Since then, inflation, increased fuel economy, and rising costs associated with labor and construction, have eroded the user fee’s purchasing power. Congress must act to provide a reliable revenue stream to support jobs, address maintenance needs and provide Americans with a safe and efficient transportation system. Congress has patched the Highway Trust Fund five times since 2008, continuing to kick the can further down the road, and now faces yet another looming shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund with current funding set to expire on May 31.

Thank you again for your time and consideration and we look forward to continuing to work together to address the funding needs of our nation’s transportation system.

Sincerely

AAA, American Trucking Associations and U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, Jan. 20, 2015) – AAA CEO Robert Darbelnet has released the following statement in response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address.

“The state of our nation’s transportation infrastructure is deteriorating, and without significant investment it will only worsen. President Obama has outlined numerous legislative priorities tonight – from making community colleges more accessible to national energy production and efficiency initiatives – but a key part of our overall economic success will depend on a reliable network to get people to school and transport new products to factories and stores.

“The President’s proposal to leverage corporate tax reform or private investment structures to support transportation funding would provide a welcome shot in the arm for our nation’s infrastructure, but this will not provide a sustainable fix to the looming funding crisis at hand.

“We have a tremendous opportunity with gas prices hitting multi-year lows to invest a portion of these savings to properly fund our transportation system. The user fee for gasoline – often called the “gas tax” – has not increased in more than two decades; yet long-overdue action to restore funding lost to inflation is finally gaining interest on Capitol Hill.

“AAA continues to advocate for an increase to this user fee as the most effective and efficient way to fund our transportation system, provided the money is used to ease congestion and improve safety.

“We can only hope that the promise of bipartisanship and collaboration prevails so that we can achieve a sustainable and reliable long-term funding solution.”​

Heather HunterORLANDO, Fla., (July 17, 2014) – “Today’s Senate Commerce hearing again sheds light on the unacceptable failure of GM executive management to adequately oversee and respond to early warning signals of potential vehicle safety problems. AAA acknowledges GM’s recent steps to transform its corporate culture by implementing new protocols and procedures intended to help prevent similar crises in the future. However, it is clear more must be done to restore public trust in the recall process, repair compromised vehicles and compensate motorists who have been impacted by GM’s failure to protect their safety. This includes a thorough examination of the existing regulatory structure, and putting in place any changes deemed necessary.”

“AAA continues to support efforts by Congress to raise the maximum fine that NHTSA can levy on automakers, along with legislation introduced by Senators Markey and Blumenthal calling for increased transparency in the recall process. These steps should be taken immediately, and Congress should further use its authority to identify additional ways to help ensure that a tragedy such as this is never allowed to occur again.”

SMichael Greentatement by Bob Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA

(WASHINGTON, July 10, 2014) “Funding for America’s roads and bridges is once again in imminent danger of running out.  Both the House and Senate will act today on short-term plans to prop up the Highway Trust Fund, but it remains unclear whether either proposal will help meet the long-term needs of drivers.

“The only way that a short-term patch of the Highway Trust Fund is acceptable is if it buys Congress a few months to work on finalizing a bipartisan, long-term agreement later this year. Any proposal that allows this issue to be pushed into 2015 would kill the momentum to find a real funding solution. Renewing the debate next year under a new Congress would start us over at square one, making it nearly impossible to secure long-term transportation funding anytime soon.

“It’s time our leaders in Washington stop the hand-wringing and start taking real steps to shore up funding for the roads and bridges that we rely on every day.  Continuing to put off tough decisions about how to fund transportation will risk road safety and compromise our economic vitality.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 10, 2014) – Two-thirds of Americans (68 percent) believe the federal government should invest more than it does now on roads, bridges and mass transit systems, according to a new AAA omnibus survey of 2,013 adults. Only five percent of respondents believe the federal government should spend less on transportation. These results come as AAA urges members of Congress to increase the fuel tax, which will address significant transportation safety and congestion issues nationwide.

Survey Highlights

  • About half of Americans (52 percent) are willing to pay higher fuel taxes per month on average for better roads, bridges and mass transit systems.
  • Nearly three times as many people (51 percent) are more likely to vote for a member of Congress who supports increased federal spending on transportation than would be less likely (19 percent).
  • Approximately two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) agree that taxes on gasoline and diesel consumption are appropriate for transportation funding.
  • More people believe that roads, bridges and transit systems have declined in quality over the previous three years (43 percent) than those who believe the quality has improved (32 percent).

AAA Commentary

“Americans are fed up with record-long commutes, unsafe highways and never-ending potholes caused by political inaction,” said Bob Darbelnet, AAA President and CEO. “Congress must prevent severe maintenance delays during the height of the summer driving season by preventing a Highway Trust Fund bankruptcy in August.”

AAA supports a federal gas tax increase, provided the funds go towards projects that ease congestion and improve safety. The gas tax is the most efficient and fair method available to pay for transportation maintenance and improvements in the near term. An increase in fuel taxes, spent wisely, should help reduce the estimated $324 per year in additional vehicle repairs and operating costs that the average driver currently spends due to poor road conditions.

The Department of Transportation expects the federal Highway Trust Fund will run out of money this summer without Congressional action, which would delay transportation maintenance and improvement projects nationwide.

“Many of us are willing to pay a little more if it means we will have access to better roads, bridges and transit systems,” continued Darbelnet. “It is time for our nation’s leaders to stand with those in Congress who support improving our country’s transportation system.”

The federal Highway Trust Fund is supported by the 18.4 cents per gallon gas tax and 24.4 cents per gallon tax on diesel. Congress has not raised this tax since 1993. Due to inflation and increased fuel economy, the purchasing power of the current tax has been cut nearly in half.

Survey Questions and Results

  1. Do you believe the quality of roads, bridges and mass transit systems you regularly use have significantly improved; improved; neither improved nor declined; declined; or significantly declined in the past three years?
    • Total
      Significantly improved 4%
      Improved 28%
      Neither improved nor declined 23%
      Declined 27%
      Significantly declined 16%
  2. Do you think the federal government should invest more, less or the same as it does now for roads, bridges and mass transit systems?
    • Total
      More 68%
      Less 5%
      The Same 24%
  3. On average, U.S. drivers contribute about eight dollars per month in federal fuel taxes towards the nation’s roads, bridges and mass transit systems. How much more, if any, would you be willing to pay on a monthly basis for roads, bridges and mass transit systems?
    • Total
      Not willing to pay more 41%
      Willing to pay more (net) 52%
      $0.01-$4.99 20%
      $5.00-$9.99 11%
      $10 or more 21%

     

  4. If your Congressional representative were to support increased federal spending for U.S. roads, bridges and mass transit systems, would you be significantly more likely; somewhat more likely; neither more nor less likely; somewhat less likely; or significantly less likely to vote for them in the next election?
    • Total
      Significantly more likely 17%
      Somewhat more likely 34%
      Neither more nor less likely 27%
      Somewhat less likely 9%
      Significantly less likely 10%
  5. Federal funding for roads, bridges and mass transit systems comes primarily from taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel consumption. Do you think this is an appropriate way to raise funds for this transportation investment?
    • Total
      Yes 67%
      No 29%

Methodology

AAA conducted a telephone survey among two national probability samples (landline only and cell phone), consisting of a combined total of 2,013 adults (1,009 men and 1,004 women), 18 years of age and older and living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was conducted with two waves taking place on May 1-4 and May 8-11, 2014. This study has an average statistical error of 2.7 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for all US adult motorists.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Michael GreenWASHINGTON, D.C, (May 13, 2014) – AAA today issued the following statement by its President and CEO Bob Darbelnet regarding the bipartisan transportation bill introduced in the Senate.

“AAA welcomes Senators Boxer, Vitter, Carper and Barrasso’s bipartisan transportation bill that increases transparency of how federal dollars are spent.  We are encouraged to see leaders in Washington addressing the transportation crisis with detailed proposals rather than general fund bailouts.  AAA looks forward to reviewing the details of this bill, and we are pleased it maintains the ban on interstate tolling.

“It is now up to the Senate Finance Committee to consider how Congress will fund this bill.  AAA urges Chairman Wyden and Ranking Member Hatch to keep all options on the table by committing to a vote on an increase in the federal gas tax in addition to the other funding mechanisms that will be considered by the committee.  AAA, like many, recognizes that a federal gas tax increase is the most viable and effective option available, provided the additional funds are thoughtfully invested in transportation improvements that ease congestion and increase safety.”

Nancy WhiteStatement by Bob Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA

“This morning the nation lost a true champion of transportation.  Former Chairman Oberstar worked tirelessly to restore the “trust” to the Highway Trust Fund and his leadership, expertise and character should serve as an example in Congress for years to come.  AAA had the pleasure of awarding Congressman Oberstar with our “Transportation Leaders Award” in 1998 for his efforts to promote a better, safer transportation system, and he epitomized this leadership throughout his 18 terms, whether it was boosting the share of federal dollars used for traffic safety improvements or putting the interests of system users first when it came to innovative transportation finance approaches.  Thank you to the people of Northeast Minnesota for sending such a principled and thoughtful leader to Washington, and thank you to Congressman Oberstar for your years of service to this nation.  You will be sorely missed.”

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