Peterson Op-Ed: Time to Get Serious About Transportation Funding

May 22, 2015 Issues: Congressional Issues, Transportation

A few days ago, the House of Representatives passed another short-term, limited patch to address the growing funding crisis for transportation in this country. Meanwhile, shovel-ready projects in the 7th District stand idle.

Time is of the essence. In Minnesota, our lingering, cold winters leave a short window for the construction season. Long-term certainty is the only way to ensure that local communities can have the time and flexibility they need to respond to unique transportation needs we face in rural areas. Minnesotans are also unfortunately familiar with the consequences of cutting corners when it comes to our roads and bridges.

As one of few remaining Blue Dogs, I know that Congress can still work together to get the big stuff done. Last Congress, I worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to shepherd a five-year farm bill through this chamber and into law with strong bipartisan support. We need that same kind of cooperation and forward thinking to address the looming shortfall in federal transportation funding.

When this temporary funding patch expires in July, harvest season will be upon us. Strong investment in our transportation network through rail, bridges and roads is necessary for getting goods to market in a safe and reliable manner. Without it, our townships, cities and counties are left to shoulder increasing costs.

Continuing this current path is unsustainable. We can't afford to wait for Congress to kick the can down the road again. I have heard from folks across the 7th District who are ready for Congress to quit the partisan bickering and work together to get the job done. We need a sustainable, long-term solution to meet our transportation needs and we need it yesterday.