Improving America’s transportation and infrastructure

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by Toni-Anne Barry

These days, it seems like politicians can’t agree on anything. That’s because it’s convenient for the media to use a gridlock narrative as shorthand for the contrarian and obstinate behavior that defines how our elected representatives address a few big issues. However, a different, more nuanced picture emerges when one takes a closer look at the actual purpose of the lawmaking process – the pursuit of positive change. Common Ground profiles two members of opposing parties who are working together to advance issues important to hoteliers.

The Issue

Improving America’s Transportation and Infrastructure

America’s infrastructure system was once the envy of the world. Now, the roads, highways, bridges, and airports in our communities are failing. Infrastructure is becoming worn down in cities and towns across America because of inefficient resources and poor allocation of funding. For the hospitality industry, the lack of efficient roadways and airports can drastically affect the flow of tourism and harm the success of small businesses. Our legislators on both sides of the aisle understand that this issue should be treated as a top legislative priority and are determined to find solutions in the new Congress.

Common Ground

Democrats and Republicans alike are working to find solutions to our nation’s infrastructure problems. Rep. DeFazio (D-OR), the newly appointed chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is focused on getting an infrastructure package passed in the House with the help of Republicans as soon as possible. Voices in the Senate, that also have been advocating for infrastructure reform, could point to bipartisan and bicameral support of such a package. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure, stated that bolstering America’s infrastructure is one of his top priorities in the coming year. By coming together to support and pass a comprehensive reform package, legislators can give communities the resources they need to make necessary updates to our transportation systems so local businesses and tourism can flourish.   ■

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D)

District: OR-4 (Eugene, Roseburg, Coos Bay)

First Elected: 1986

Committees: Transportation and Infrastructure

“If we want to put America back to work, get America moving again, and make us more competitive in the world economy, we must strengthen the federal commitment to our national transportation network by providing sustainable, long-term funding.”

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK)

First Elected: 1994

Committees: Armed Services; Commerce, Science, and Transportation; Environment and Public Works

“As a builder and developer, I saw firsthand the limitations and burdens of the federal government’s duplicative permitting as I tried to grow my business, hire more people, and expand the tax base. As a mayor, I felt the frustration of having to wait on bureaucrats in Washington D.C. for every decision – even for projects wholly contained within Tulsa, OK. Local communities understand and appreciate we need to be making these common-sense changes and investing in all of our infrastructure.”

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