The transportation funding package overwhelmingly approved by the state Senate represents a considerable investment in the future, for economic progress and for public safety. If this plan becomes law, it clears the way for action on more of our transportation priorities in this area over the coming years.
I committed to vote for a plan that raised sufficient revenue to meet needs ranging from bridge repair and replacement to highway repairs and reconstruction. While I understand and appreciate that many people do not want to pay any more in taxes and fees, the transportation needs are too large and too serious to delay action any longer. The variety of funding sources utilized should work to reduce the eventual impact on the price of gas at the pump.
The amount of support expressed for increased funding made a difference. This was probably the broadest coalition of advocates ever assembled for increasing transportation funding, including employers, workers, public safety groups, and community leaders. The increasing number of weight-limited bridges and detours caught the attention of many motorists, shippers, and haulers.
While it is unfortunate that another construction season was lost this year, action now ensures that an expanded effort can get underway next year.
In the end, the economic and safety risks of inaction outweighed concerns about the political risks of increasing transportation funding.