Guest on The Infra Blog: Congressman Richard Hanna

Posted by Steve Anderson on Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

Congressman Richard HannaCongressman Richard Hanna (R-NY) has represented the 22nd District of New York in the United States House of Representatives since 2011.

Representative Hanna serves on three key committees for the 114th Congress, including the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. On Feb. 3rd, U.S. Representatives Richard Hanna and Janice Hahn (D-CA) introduced a bill that would re-establish state infrastructure banks to help fund local transportation initiatives. 

The Hanna-Hahn bill aims to update the federal highway bill, MAP-21. H.R. 652, the State Transportation and Infrastructure Financing Innovation Act (STIFIA) would amend MAP-21 to authorize – but not compel – states to establish infrastructure banks using existing federal transportation dollars through 2020. 

Infrastructure Banks: Giving States Control Over Investment
So much of what the federal government does is so darn prescriptive that the states really don’t have the latitude to do things that they know they need to do…So this is just one more tool to help them do that. It gives them leverage and it gives them versatility…

Congressional Inaction
Congress simply isn’t working together…Sometimes I think we take our eye off the ball. You can’t have a successful country without having a good infrastructure system, and ours is in decline. We need to be more thoughtful and willing to talk about how we’re going to pay for it.

Why The Gas Tax Is Not the Answer
…a lot of New York’s money that comes from the feds winds up going into mass transit— for better or for worse, and it certainly is a conversation to be had—but mass transit does not pay anything in…We need to find a way, moving forward, to fund it thoughtfully and fairly, and for my money there are ways to do it, but the gas tax just isn’t working anymore.

States Are Actually Getting Things Done
Congress, as you can see through so many different examples, is not good at finishing what it starts, and there is so much dysfunction here that the opportunity to talk about paying for something doesn’t even exist…but you look at places like Virginia: they were able to raise their taxes to pay for some of their improvements, and other states have done it. I give them credit because they’re showing that they can lead.

Political Leaders Need to Speak Up For Infrastructure
…people with the job that I have and the other people here have to have a vision of their own. We have to value transportation, value intermodal works and everything along with it. It’s our job to get out there and say, “Damn it, this is important.”

Download full transcript: Congressman Richard Hanna on The Infra Blog

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