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TCC Fly-In Underscores Importance of Funding
May 24, 2021 by NAPA Government Affairs

NAPA members, volunteers, leadership, and staff participated in the virtual Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) Legislative Fly-In on May 20, marking the event’s 20th anniversary.

US Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg acknowledged that TCC members “put the ‘build’ in build back better.” Reflecting on major projects that drove America’s progress during the last 200 years, he remarked that now, too, “We need a generational investment in our transportation infrastructure.” With this, Secretary Buttigieg underscored the value of present-day investment to inspire “a new generation of construction workers to turn new jobs into new careers” and to build new projects “with racial equity and environmental justice in mind.”

Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works Chairman Tom Carper (D-DE) and Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) spoke with NAPA’s own Audrey Copeland and Jay Hansen, respectively. Along with rebuilding the country’s physical transportation infrastructure, both openly supported the necessary expansion and availability of broadband internet across America – a key asset for workforce development, education, and modern quality of life. Both also shared their commitment to building for the future, particularly the environmental future and the resilience necessary to withstand and recover from severe weather impacts on physical infrastructure. 

Senator Carper set May 26 as the markup date, working toward a Memorial Day deadline. “The deadline creates some healthy pressure,” observed Secretary Buttigieg. 

Senator Carper is aiming for a five-year surface reauthorization bill in the neighborhood of $300 billion, admitting it won’t be final or perfect. But, he added, “One of the best ways to get our economy going is to pass this kind of legislation.”

On pay-fors, Senator Capito stated, “We’re looking at innovative ideas,” such as repurposing unused COVID funding, but “we will not be raising the gas tax.” Senator Carper, who was less specific, remarked repeatedly that, “This is a shared responsibility, not just the federal government’s,” noting responsibilities at all levels of government, as well as opportunities for private businesses. 

Problem-Solver Caucus Infrastructure Co-Chairs Rep. John Katko (R-NY) and Conor Lamb (D-PA) appeared in recorded video messages with Mike Johnson of the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA). They referenced streamlining administrative processes (Katko) and “updating what our forefathers did for us – and improving upon it” (Lamb). 

While there is not yet an active industry grassroots campaign, NAPA’s government affairs team encourages members to get involved. Now is an opportune time to share your story and tell your members of Congress why it is critical – not only for your business, but also for your local economy – to pass a long-term, sustainable surface reauthorization bill this summer. Use our many advocacy tools to get started, or contact Ashley Jackson for help.

 

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