Author: Jackson, Lee
Date published: September 1, 2011
The Theme of the 65th Annual NDTA Forum & Expo in Phoenix September 10-14 suggests that we explore how the military, government, and industry are "Rising to the Challenge" of a changing world of politics, economics, communications, and logistics. Therefore, I thought I would focus on how our legislators are reaching out to the various stakeholders in the government and industry and working together to support our nation's critical infrastructure.
It should be noted that in the view of this writer, it is important that any legislative proposal adopted should include provisions that support national defense interests and national defense programs and initiatives related to DOD highway, rail, and waterways for National Defense. I think after reading my snapshots of the various pieces of proposed legislation being put forth on Capitol Hill, you will arrive at the same conclusion I have. The Congress and our legislators are "rising to the challenge" of our changing world of politics, economics, communications, and logistics.
Senator Barbara Boxer has proposed a two-year surface transportation reauthorization bill; however, $12 billion in supplemental revenue must be identified to support this proposal. To date, such revenue has not been identified, and in the current fiscal climate, finding such revenue will most likely pose a significant challenge. Accordingly, details of this Senate proposal have not been included in this review.
The proposals discussed herein are the focus of this article because they both demonstrate and contain provisions that fully support and rise to the challenge facing our nation's infrastructure. A common theme that runs throughout each of the legislative proposals put forth seems to be corralling the widespread support from the business community and leveraging federal dollars to ensure that the reauthorization bill finally adopted is fiscally sound. In fact, to ensure that there is democratic and bipartisan support for the GOP bill, Congressman Mica, the Bills sponsor, has delayed scheduling a vote on the Bill until after the month-long summer recess of Congress hi August. Keep in mind, there will surely be some debate over funding levels, but it is critical that broad bipartisan support and consensus be obtained from all stakeholders before any proposal can move forward.
NUMEROUS PROPOSALS ARE BEING PUT FORTH: Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21)1
* Funding programs at current levels;
* Eliminating earmarks;
* Consolidating numerous programs to focus resources on key national goals and reduce duplýcatýve and wasteful programs;
* Consolidating numerous programs into a more focused freight program; and
* Creating a new section called America Fast Forward, which strengthens the TIFIA (Transportation Infrastructure Finance Innovation Act) program to stretch federal dollars.
HOUSE GOP $210 BILLION TRANSPORTATION BILL2
* Provides $230 billion over six years from the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) - consistent with the amount of revenue deposited into the HTF for the next six years;
* Funds the TIFIA program at $1 billion per year and provides incentives for states to create and capitalize State Infrastructure Banks;
* Consolidates or eliminates nearly 70 dupucative programs or programs not in the federal interest;
* Streamlines the project delivery process by cutting bureaucratic red tape and making the project approval process faster and simpler;
* Distributes federal highway funding to state DOTs through formula programs to preserve existing highways, build new highway capacity, address congestion, freight mobility, and highway safety; and
* Encourages federal regulators to keep unsafe trucks and buses off the road and incentivizes the states to enact laws to prevent impaired driving and increase seatbelt use.
Although this article focuses on select legislative proposals, there are numerous proposals under consideration that support enacting a responsible, long-term solution focused on transportation reauthorization.
The proposals discussed herein are solid pieces of legislation that do not raise taxes, support fiscal austerity, maximize and leverage limited resources, provide flexibility to the states, create jobs, and authorize funding levels supported by the Highway Trust Fund revenues. Bipartisan hearings and public forums were held around the country to gather ideas and input on the House bill and the six-year reauthorization proposal.
1 Source: Jeff Berman, Group News Editor, Logistics Management . . . Supply Chain Management Review, 5/26/2011
2 Source: House of Representatives Brief; Transportation Reauthorization Proposal, 7/7/2011
Lee Jackson, Logistics Management Institute (LMI)