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Tolling Points

DeFazio Takes the Gavel at House Transportation and Infrastructure

By: 
Bill Cramer

The winds of change blew through Washington, DC last week, bringing a Democratic majority to the House of Representatives and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) became the 19th Committee Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

"We are approaching a transportation crisis in our country," DeFazio said Friday. "As chairman, I will be a tireless advocate for the kind of infrastructure investment that results in job creation, increased economic growth, and decreased emissions."

IBTTA Executive Director and CEO Patrick Jones welcomes DeFazio. “With Chairman DeFazio’s extensive experience in Congress and his steady hand on the full range of transportation and infrastructure issues, we’re watching for the Committee to hit the ground running,” he said. “The tolling industry stands ready to support a mix of funding options to address our nation’s crumbling infrastructure; including an increase in the gas tax, providing states with greater flexibility to toll their interstate highways for the purpose of reconstruction and introducing a nationwide Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT) pilot.”

Last week, DeFazio “pledged to address aging, outdated infrastructure and to champion updates that will reduce carbon pollution and be more resilient against the impacts of climate change,” Politico reports [subs req’d]. “DeFazio has said his top priority as chairman would be to work with President Donald Trump to advance a major infrastructure spending package.

The 16-term Congressional veteran, who first entered the House in 1987, added that he would “provide reasonable and responsible oversight of the Trump Administration's implementation of laws under the Committee's jurisdiction."

Before the holiday break, The Hill carried a news report on DeFazio exploring what it would take to finalize a bipartisan infrastructure bill, even if it gave a Republican administration a win. His goal was to get the legislation done in the first six months of this year, provided that the Senate "can act a little more expeditiously than usual." Infrastructure, he said, “is to the benefit of all the people in the United States of America, Democrat, Republican, independent.”

 

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