Larry I. Willis, president of the Transportation Trades Department (TTD), recently testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials on rail and transportation infrastructure.
TTD is a group of 32 affiliated unions in both the public and private sectors that represent passenger and freight rail systems employees.
The industry planned to invest $22 billion this year, Willis said, but this level of investment requires a broad Congressional infrastructure bill. The bill must not undermine safety or labor regulations, but it must support middle-class jobs, Willis said.
TTD supports making permanent a tax credit which expired in December. The tax credit offered 50 cents for every dollar invested in track improvements for low-density connections.
“The most pressing challenge to enacting a substantial infrastructure program is how to fund it,” Willis said. “With states and municipalities investing less in capital projects and maintenance, a more consistent and robust federal partner is needed to both create the certainty to spur investment and to provide direct fiscal support to augment austere budgets. While we will consider a variety of proposals, the most effective tool for meeting this demand is to provide direct federal support by raising the gasoline-user fee.”