By Ben Husch
On Jan. 14, while most of Washington was scouring the recently released budget, I attended, on behalf of NCSL, Congress’ first hearing on highway and transit funding of 2014. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s hearing, Building the Foundation for Surface Transportation Reauthorization, focused solely on reauthorizing the Moving Ahead for the Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), which expires Sept. 30.
Its reauthorization will be one of Congress’ largest priorities this year. MAP-21 provided more than $100 billion to states in 2013 and 2014 for highways, road, transit, safety and bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure.
Given the state impact of MAP-21 and its successor, NCSL’s Natural Resources and Infrastructure (NRI) Committee is putting together a MAP-21 working group. The working group will serve as a forum to keep state legislators and legislative staff who focus on transportation issues, updated on the status of negotiations in Washington.
While NCSL’s lobbying and advocacy work on the reauthorization will be guided by NCSL policies, including our Surface Transportation Federalism Policy Directive along with our Electronic Toll Collection Interoperability and Solving America's Long-Term Funding Crisis Policy Resolutions, the working group may consider making recommendations to the NRI Committee regarding possible changes to NCSL policy.
If you are interested in taking part in this working group please feel free to call (202-624-7779) or email Ben Husch. We would like to hold the first of a series of conference calls in early February. I will provide further details about the working group on that call.
Ben Husch is committee director, Natural Resources and Infrastructure Committee for NCSL.