From left to right: Bill Johnson, Tim Murphy, Regina Hopper Keith Rothfus and Kirk Steudle
The need for sustainable surface transportation funding was debated at the Legislative Breakfast held on the first day of ITS America’s 2015 Annual Meeting & Expo.
There was unanimity between congressmen Tim Murphy (R-PA), Bill Johnson (R-OH) and Keith Rothfus (R-PA) that the current two-month extension to MAP-21 of the Highway Trust Fund was highly unsatisfactory – indeed Johnson described the last few years as a string of “Band-Aid fixes”. All agreed that a long-term sustainable solution is required, although Johnson said he was against only increasing gas tax as this disadvantaged those living in rural areas who need to travel longer distances.
He liked the idea of a tax holiday proposal whereby for every $1 a U.S. company spent buying transportation linked government bonds, it could repatriate $4 of overseas profit.
Murphy voiced concern about the effect of the continuing shortfall, saying one in five bridges needed major repair or replacement and that some were being fitted with plywood to catch the crumbling concrete.
For his part Rothfus favoured a mileage tax approach which had a ‘grace period’ that exempted residents travelling within 10 or 20 miles of their home.