Shuster: President Will Sign Transpo Bill In the Fall

Monday, May 14, 2012 - 04:07 PM

Congress member Bill Shuster (House photo)

Congress member Bill Shuster (R-PA), Chair of the House Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, & Hazardous Materials, predicts President Barack Obama will sign a transportation bill -- with a provision to build the Keystone Pipeline included -- in September or October.

"Americans support the Keystone Pipeline, 80:20" Shuster told a gathering organized by the New York University Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management.  (A march Gallup poll actually put that support at 57:29, still a big majority.)

The pipeline has been vehemently opposed by environmentalists, who say construction of the pipeline would mean "game over" for the environment.  And President Obama has said in the past that he would oppose any transportation bill that included funding for the pipeline.

But Shuster predicted presidential politics would force the President's hand come the fall -- though he acknowledged that for most Americans, transportation wasn't even in their top five issues.

Shuster also pointed the finger at "Leadership and Ways and Means," who he said pushed the idea of removing transit from the transportation bill, an effort that died after "every Republican in an urban or suburban district screamed bloody murder."

Shuster also said he thought Congess would achieve a so-called "grand bargain" avoiding steep across-the-board cuts in spending, either late this year if President Obama is re-elected, or after January if Mitt Romney wins the presidency.

Shuster also took a big swipe at California's high speed rail program, calling it "extortion," and said the only place America should build "high-er speed rail" was in the Northeast Corridor, where, he said, one in five Americans live.






Comments [2]

Dave Imrett

I don't think it really matters whether they sign a bill or keep running on extensions. Neither party is willing to even talk about inflation adjustment of the gas tax. Without that there is not even half enough money to maintain roads and bridges in the poor condition they are in. The federal gas tax is the same today at $4+ a gallon as it was when it in the late 90s when gas was under a dollar a gallon.
Until we have a sea change in our political climate we are, and will continue to be a third world country where transportation is concerned. Anyone looking for a career should look elsewhere.

May. 15 2012 04:37 PM
Robert Pazehoski

Waiting until the Fall is not acceptable to the millions of taxpayers (workers) who have been trying to keep their heads above water while the Congress quibbles over a much needed long term Transportation funding bill. The Keystone pipeline appears to be vital--not vital enough however to put Engineering firms, contractors, material suppliers, etc. out of business.

One very negative aspect of the delay in establishing a long term Transportation funding bill that, to my knowledge has never been addressed, is the impact of the Marcellus Shale industry, primarily in the Northeast.

Due to a tremendous lack of Transportation projects, resulting from the absence of a viable long-term Transportation bill, the negative impact the Marcellus shale industry has imposed on the Transportation industry has never been discussed. Experienced workers of all trades and professsions that normally would be working on transportation projects, whether it be design or construction, have jumped ship to the Marcellus shale work. You cannot blame these many individuals involved in this crisis, since due to a lack of a viable Transportation bill,layoff and part-time work have become the norm in the Transportation industry.

It's bad enough that the Marcellus shale industry is dessimating the condition of our roadway infrastructure throughout the Northeast, but also, they have now reduced the number of qualified personnel in the Transportation industry. Another major concern of firms and companies involved in transportation is, should (at this time I have no confidence in Congress or our President) a transportation bill be passed and Federal funds again become accessible, where are the hundreds and thousands of QUALIFIED TRANSPORTATION PERSONNEL TO COME FROM, SINCE MARCELLUS SHALE HAS NEGATIVELY IMPACTED THE WORK POOL FOR TRANSPORATION?

On another matter in regard to the Marcellus Shale work in PA, Mr. Shuster has only to take a ride along Rt. 287 through the mountains of PA up to Wellsboro to see the damage that the daily (I mean 7 days) heavy Marcellus Shale truck traffic has done to this once smooth, two lane, scenic roadway invited tourists from all over to the Grand Canyon of PA and a quaint tourist community (these same heavy trucks constantly travel along the Main Street of Wellsboro creating excessive noise, polluting the air and creating a hazard for residences and tourists alike. What a disgrace to present to tourists (residents) this, now, dilapidated acess route through the scenic forests of PA, up to Wellsboro. The ocassional Marcellus companies'1 inch bituminous overlay is a pittance of the permanent damge that will have to be addressed by PennDOT in the future. And this is only one example.

May. 15 2012 12:16 PM

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