(WASHINGTON) – Since 2008, Congress has transferred more than $62 billion from the general fund to keep the Highway Trust Fund afloat, and it has been more than a decade since Congress has passed a highway bill more than two years in duration. Meanwhile, infrastructure continues to crumble and the safety of those who work and travel along the vast network of U.S. roads and rails is being jeopardized. Despite a serious effort by the Senate to pass a long-term bill in advance of the July 31 funding deadline, here we are once again – recess and a three-month, short-term fix.
“Yet again, too many lawmakers are not devoting the necessary effort to move a long-term transportation bill through Congress that will address this nation’s broad transportation infrastructure needs,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. “Those on Capitol Hill must move past their ideological differences and find solutions that help the American people and the economy.”
While we commend the Senate for moving forward a multi-year surface transportation bill, at the same time we must express disapproval of the inclusion of several provisions that denigrate highway and rail safety and put the lives of Teamster members and their families at greater risk. Congress shouldn’t be expanding the ability of teenage truckers to drive across state lines, and putting up roadblocks that would prevent the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from doing its job to keep our roads safe.
In addition, Congress shouldn’t act on increasing truck size and weight without completing its comprehensive truck size and weight study. Forcing these bigger heavier trucks onto states without an analysis of the safety of these trucks is reckless and dangerous.
Credit for advancing legislation that provides the resources necessary to rebuild and repair our faltering infrastructure is negated by including policies that roll back highway safety. We will continue to work with Congress to address all of these issues as the legislation moves forward.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.