Shuster urges transportation leaders to ‘educate’ lawmakers on funding needs

Bill ShusterBill Shuster

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) is urging transportation leaders to ‘educate’ lawmakers on what the industry needs in a new surface transportation funding bill.

At the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s annual conference on Friday, Shuster, who is the chairman of the House Transportation Committee, said he needs transportation leaders to help show lawmakers what will be needed in the new transportation bill, The Hill reports.

“We need your help also in educating members of Congress,” Shuster said. “Because there are some members out there, and on both sides of the aisle there’s education needed.”

The current transportation bill is set to  expire in September, and Shuster has previously stated that he wants a new bill on the House floor by August.

Shuster stressed that both parties will need to make compromises in order to approve a new funding bill on time.

“On my side of the aisle, there’s a reluctance to think … the federal government has a role or we shouldn’t be spending money, or we shouldn’t be spending more money. On the other side of the aisle, we’ve got, there’s a reluctance to streamline things,” Shuster noted. “Time is money.”

Though the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) — transportation’s mains source of funding, which funded by an $18.4-cent-per-gallon federal gas tax — is rapidly dwindling, Shuster didn’t offer any ideas for funding alternatives. Instead, he told conference attendees that he wants to focus on finding the best ways to use the money already available for transportation.

“I’m going to need you, on both sides of the aisle, helping me to drive those reforms, so we can do more with the dollars we have, and also make sure we’re educating those on my side that there’s a fundamental role in the federal government being involved with — with the state and the locals out there,” he said.