Monday, October 17, 2011

LaHood Warns Of Crisis For US Logistics and Transportation Infrastructure

Blasts Bipartisanship Politics
Shipping News Feature

USA – The US Secretary for Transportation, Ray LaHood, has called for the divisions that beset the American Congress to be put aside and for members of both the Republican and Democratic parties to work together to pass legislation that will see $50 billion in infrastructure spending for roads, bridges, rail and airport projects and additionally provide work for tens of thousands of Americans.

Responding to the defeat of the Obama administrations $447 billion American Jobs Act in the US Senate last Tuesday, Mr. Lahood wrote that:

“Solving our transportation problems has often been one of the issues where Americans can count on bipartisanship from their elected legislators.

“When I was elected to Congress in 1994, we had a very reform-minded class, 82 new people, and they came here to do something, to solve problems. Almost always in the past when people have run for Congress, they sought an opportunity to help solve the problems of America.

“We had a reform-minded Congress and a President from a different party, and what did we do? We passed a surface transportation bill that put people to work on the jobs this country needed done.

“In 1982, President Reagan faced an opposition Congress, and what did they do? They passed a surface transportation bill that put people to work on the jobs this country needed done.

“Today the prospect is different, but it doesn't have to be. This is still a nation capable of building big, capable of innovating to meet its challenges.”

Speaking at the "Fixing America's Foundation: Rebuilding Transportation Infrastructure" conference on Friday LaHood, the most prominent Republican in the administration, also stated that he believed that the Republicans were being obtuse because “…a big percentage of the Republicans that were elected this time came here to do zero, and that's what they've done.”

He added that: “A lot has changed here in Washington over the past 29 years. But nothing’s changed more than the evolution of a culture in which elected officials today are rewarded for intransigence.”

LaHood also warned further that America was continuing to fall behind in terms of its national transportation infrastructure in comparison to competitors around the world and that continued failure to invest to maintain parity ran the risk of the U.S. transportation system becoming “…overburdened and obsolete.”

“As recently as 2005, America’s transportation infrastructure was ranked the best in the world. Today, we’re not even in the Top 10,” he pointed out.