CAWP Executive Director Rich Barcaskey Weighs in on Need for Infrastructure Funding
Letter to the Editor, published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Monday, July 18, 2011
While U.S. Rep. John Mica, chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is to be commended for the reforms in the recently released multiyear transportation reauthorization bill, it is disappointing that the committee does not address the revenue shortfall that threatens to undermine the long-term viability of our nation's transportation system.
The positive aspects of the proposal include the consolidation of duplicative programs, streamlining projects and providing states with needed flexibility to address their transportation priorities. These reforms will go a long way in helping restore Americans' confidence in the federal transportation program and their willingness to pay for using what remains the world's most efficient transportation network. However, failing to address the revenue shortfall will inevitably threaten the long-term viability of our transportation system. Economic growth will be hampered, and our infrastructure deficit will continue to grow should the significant maintenance and repair cuts outlined in this bill be enacted.
Neglecting our infrastructure will only force taxpayers to pay more later since it is more expensive to fix broken infrastructure than it is to properly maintain it. The public can discern the difference between wasteful government spending and desperately needed investments that boost economic activity and support private-sector commerce. Let's hope that in the coming months we will see our federal elected officials working to achieve bipartisan support for a bill that is both fiscally responsible and responsive to our nation's very significant transportation needs.
The Constructors Association of Western Pennsylvania is a trade association representing more than 200 heavy and highway construction and construction-related companies operating in the 33 counties of Western Pennsylvania. CAWP contractors are engaged in the construction of the region's highways, bridges, tunnels, airport runways, dams and waste treatment facilities as well as site preparation and utilities installation.
RICHARD J. BARCASKEY
Constructors Association of Western Pennsylvania