At this week’s Coalition meeting, we received an update from Catie Kawchak, senior legislative assistant for Congressman Lou Barletta.  The congressman has been pushing for a federal transportation solution following our meeting with him several weeks ago.

Unfortunately, there still isn’t a consensus on how to fund transportation among the House Republicans or in Congress as a whole. Although the current short-term fix expires in October, budget analysts now say they have determined that there is enough money in the Highway Trust Fund to last until next June (see news item below).

The lack of consensus on funding may lead to creation of a transportation “policy bill” this fall, which in essence would outline a program within the parameters of the funding that’s available. In other words, it would not constitute the multi-year funding measure we’ve all been pushing for.

There are many “reasons” for lawmakers’ reluctance to advance a real solution, beginning with the fact that 2016 is an election year, and a presidential election year at that. There is a perception that incumbents who support a measure that would raise revenue would be risking their political futures.

Although it is discouraging to continue to hear all the reasons that Congress can’t get it done, we will continue to illuminate our experience in addressing our needs at the state level. Not a single incumbent who voted for Act 89 of 2013 lost a race because of his or her support of that funding measure.

We very much appreciate Congressman Barletta’s support of a funding solution (also detailed in a news link below), and we thank Ms. Kawchak for taking the time to give us an update from Washington.

Transportation Issue Update