GOP chairman taking highway funding search to Atlanta

GOP chairman taking highway funding search to Atlanta
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The chairman of the House Transportation Committee is taking his search for a way to pay for a new infrastructure funding bill to Atlanta next week. 

Rep. Bill ShusterWilliam (Bill) Franklin ShusterLobbying world Crowley, Shuster moving to K Street Exiting lawmakers jockey for K Street perch MORE (R-Pa.) will hold a roundtable at Georgia Tech University on June 9 with officials from Georgia’s Department of Transportation and Port Authority, as well as representatives of companies like Coca-Cola and UPS, the panel announced on Friday. 

Shuster will be joined by members of Congress from Georgia in a discussion about “the region’s infrastructure, its importance to the economy, and the need for legislation that improves the nation’s highways, bridges, and other transportation systems,” the panel said. 

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“The roundtable will examine such issues as the national freight network and Atlanta’s role in that network; the federal role in ensuring a cohesive, efficient, national transportation network; and how the federal government can improve and streamline infrastructure programs to help ensure the transportation network meets the needs of our economy,” the committee said in statement.  

“The Transportation Committee continues to develop legislation to fund highway, bridge, and transit improvements; a bill to modernize the U.S. aviation system; and other infrastructure initiatives for Congressional action later this year,” the panel continued. 

The roundtable comes as lawmakers struggle to come up with a way to pay for an extension of a transportation funding measure that is scheduled to expire on July 31. 

The transportation funding was originally scheduled to expire in May, but Congress passed a bill last month to push the deadline into summer. 

Lawmakers have been trying to craft a longer transportation funding measure than the two-month bill they passed at the end of May, but they have struggled to come up with a way to pay for it. 

The traditional source of transportation funding has been revenue from the 18.4-cent-per-gallon federal gas tax. The tax has not been increased since 1993, however, and improvements in auto fuel efficiency have sapped its purchasing power. 

The federal government typically spends about $50 billion per year on transportation projects, but the gas tax only brings in $34 billion at its current rate. 

Transportation advocates have pushed for an increase in the gas tax to pay for a long-term infrastructure package, but Republicans say asking drivers to pay more at the pump is a nonstarter. 

Reps. Rob WoodallWilliam (Rob) Robert WoodallThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Sanders set to shake up 2020 race House Dems release 2020 GOP 'retirements to watch' for Dem raises more than 0k since declaring bid for Georgia House seat MORE (R-Ga.), Rep. Tom GravesJohn (Tom) Thomas GravesHouse passes border deal, setting up Trump to declare emergency Lawmakers introduce bill to fund government, prevent shutdown The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine - Next 24 hours critical for stalled funding talks MORE (R-Ga.) and Rep. Rick AllenRichard (Rick) Wayne AllenHouse passes bill expressing support for NATO Republicans top Dems at charity golf game GOP chairman taking highway funding search to Atlanta MORE (R-Ga.) are scheduled to attend the roundtable.