Twelve Secretaries of Transportation sign a letter on the Highway Trust Fund; why not NextGen, too?

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Secretary of Transportation Foxx (see above↑ picture) has written a well-crafted letter (see below↓ letter) signed by 11 of his predecessors. It urges Congress to “to stave off the looming insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund”. The letter articulates an excellent case for providing adequate dollars to build and repair roads and bridges. The text includes compelling sentences like:

Suffice it to say, we’ve been around the block.  We probably helped pave it”.

Initiating such forceful arguments in support of the DoT’s modal administrations is exactly why Congress created a department which encompasses bikes, car, trucks, buses, trains, transit systems and aircraft plus the attendant infrastructures– pipelines, roads, bridges, rails, tunnel, airports and airways. They are integrated means for moving the American people and US commerce. Hopefully, Secretary Foxx’s letter is successful in moving the funding of the Highway Trust Fund.

The NextGen program is an equally important infrastructure which is essential for the safety and efficiency of aviation, another form of transportation. The improvements inherent in that program translate to substantial environmental benefits, too. The jobs, which support NextGen, are high paying scientists, engineers, technicians, manufacturing positions, installers and maintenance staff. Such salaries really result in the investment multiplier effects which justify infrastructure programs. The Secretary has endorsed the advantages of NextGen, but he seems not to aggressively follow up on opportunities to repeat making this point.

Aviation would welcome a letter signed by Secretaries Foxx, Secretaries Ray LaHood, Mary Peters, Norman Mineta, Rodney Slater, Federico Peña, Samuel Skinner, Andrew Card, James Burnley, Elizabeth Dole, William Coleman and Alan Boyd asking Congress to fund NextGen. There are substantial legislative issues concerning funding and governance; perhaps a convocation of the 12 apostles of transportation could contribute their wisdom and judgment on this issue. The Secretary is the CEO of Transportation and as such can/should advance the successful of NextGen.

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