Michigan's Transportation Team Leaders in DC to Push for Fair Funding
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Posted by: Nancy Brown
Michigan's Transportation Team Leaders in DC to Push for Fair Funding Meetings with Members of Congress occur as House Committee Considers Transportation Funding Bill
LANSING, Mich. A group of Michigan's Transportation Team leaders arrive in Washington, D.C. today to urge Congress to pass legislation that will at long last provide more equitable transportation funding for the state. The team will be meeting with members of Michigan's congressional delegation and key committee staff over the next two days.
"This issue has reached a critical mass for donor states like Michigan," said Mike Nystrom, vice-president of government and public relations for the Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association (MITA) and co-chair of MTT. "The system we have now has been shortchanging Michigan for too long. We plan to do everything we can to make sure our needs are addressed before the current authorization expires on May 31, 2005."
Legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives (H.R. 3, "The Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users") that would reauthorize long-term surface transportation funding. Specifics of the legislation are still being negotiated, but one scenario would result in at least $100 million or more annually in increased funding for Michigan. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is scheduled to consider this legislation TODAY, Wednesday, March 2, 2005 at 11 a.m. in 2167 Rayburn House Office Building.
"Michigan's businesses and workers are relying on swift action at the federal level to help address Michigan's transportation needs," said Rich Studley, senior vice-president of government relations for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and MTT co-chair. "House action on this legislation is an important first step and we hope that the Senate and President will continue the progress."
The mission of the more than 80 public and private organizations that make up the MTT is to improve Michigan's well-known status as a "donor" state * a state which sends more federal gas tax money to the federal government than it gets in return * by increasing Michigan's fair share and getting back more of our own money.
"Adequate transportation funding would be a spark plug for Michigan's economic recovery," said John Hamilton, business manager and international vice-president of Operating Engineers Local 324 and MTT co-chair. "Congress needs to act now so that we can attract and protect good-paying jobs for our state and develop a transportation and infrastructure system that will spur growth and investment."