Not waiting for Congress to return from its August recess, the Coalition of Northeastern Governors, a non-partisan association consisting of the governors of New York and the six New England states— Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine— is urging transportation leaders on Capitol Hill “to act quickly to ensure continuity and stability of the nation’s highway, transit, rail and safety programs and the Highway Trust Fund.”
“With the current authorization of federal surface transportation programs set to expire October 29, 2015, we strongly encourage the House and Senate to enact a fully funded, multi-year authorization bill that includes a sustainable revenue stream dedicated to the Highway Trust Fund,” wrote Gov. Dannel P. Malloy (D) of Connecticut, CONEG Chair and Lead Governor for Transportation, and Gov. Charles D. Baker Governor of Massachusetts, CONEG Vice Chair, in an August 31st letter.
As released, the message was addressed to the chairmen and ranking members of the House Committees on Transportation and Infrastructure and Ways and Means.
According to CONEG, identical letters were also sent to the leaders of the Senate Environmental and Public Works, Banking, Commerce and Finance Committees.
Via the letter, the governors’ association argues that “federal dollars are critical to ensure on-going maintenance, preservation and investment” in the nation’s transportation system.
CONEG also stresses that a fully funded, long-term highway bill will provide “the assurance of future year funds and the stability needed to efficiently execute capital programs that transcend multiple fiscal years.”
The governors also recommends that “new initiatives be funded with new revenues so that continued investment in core [highway and public transit] infrastructure needs is assured.”
Among other suggestions offered in the letter, CONEG says that an “effective connection among intermodal networks is essential,” particularly in the Northeast. Federal activities “should support efficient intermodal connections that improve reliability, provide modal redundancy, enhance security, reduce travel times and contribute to increased productivity.”