For those who attended the Ray LaHood event at the Chicago Club in September, it was a memorable evening. Within the intimate setting of the Chicago Club, former Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, spoke to the group and answered questions regarding the state of the Highway Trust Fund and the possibility of passing a long term highway bill within the near future.
“Whenever you build a highway you create an economic corridor where jobs are created. Investing in infrastructure is a win-win” according to Secretary LaHood.
Unfortunately, he also shared that there was no talk of this in Washington today. The Highway bill is on life support and the lack of leadership, vision, and courage are hampering efforts to get a long term fully funds bill passed. There is no funding and no program. To date, 14 states have raised their gas tax for infrastructure funding and no one has been thrown out of office. Raising the gas tax and indexing it to inflation is our best hope of gaining funding for the Highway Trust Fund.
As most of you know, that federal tax has not been raised since 1993 under President Clinton. He shared with us the difficulties of working with the current Congress and of the very real possibility that the can will be kicked down the road for the 35th time since we last had a long term Highway Bill. He urged the crowd to make sure their voices are heard by contacting their representatives and asking for their support of a fully funded, long term Highway Bill.
“The answer to getting us moving is the American people. We need a six year bill. Transportation is a bi-partisan issue” said LaHood. The Secretary graciously answered questions and stayed on for after dinner drinks on the terrace overlooking downtown Chicago with Buckingham Fountain in the background.
We were also pleased to hear from Jack Holmes, President of UPS Freight who was interviewed by Mike Regan, NASSTRAC’s Advocacy Chairman about UPS’ recent acquisition of Coyote Logistics and the current state of the LTL industry. Jack echoed LaHood’s comments by saying that “infrastructure is everyone’s issue.” UPS Freight was our sponsor for the dinner that evening.
NASSTRAC wants to thank everyone for their support and attendance at the event. For those of you who were unable to join us, we have a complete video of Secretary LaHood’s comments and the Jack Holmes interview, courtesy of TranzAct Technologies, available on the NASSTRAC website on the Members Only webpage.