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I’m repeating myself, I know, but I want to urge as many of you as possible to take advantage of this week’s Congressional recess. Members are back in their districts and this is an election year. Put a little heat on them, a little pressure. Or, preferably, a lot.
Congress has dithered and dithered when it comes to reauthorization. Now we have a bill in the House and one in the Senate and they are stumbling towards a full vote. The House version has been held up by the Speaker as he tries to find enough votes for it when members come back to Washington. It’s a weak bill that is surrounded by opponents from a wide range of interests.
So find out where you Representative or Senator is this week and see if you can ask some serious questions about where they stand and why.
Since good ol’ SAFETEA_LU expired, or really was sort of zombied, and has kept going for eight extensions, it has been my impression (and I am not alone by any means) that members of Congress have responded to their own needs and the pressures placed upon them by their colleagues in D.C. They have been able to largely ignore public expectations for a solid new bill to have our transportation infrastructure not only maintained but improved.
They must be convinced that the public wants better roads and bridges badly enough to make it an election issue. If we can insert a highway bill as an issue between a member of Congress and his/her re-election, we have traction. Different groups want different things in any bill, I get that, but as long as Congress does not feel the heat, the needs of these groups will play second fiddle to politics.
This may be a week to change some Washington mindsets..