No Longer in the Driver’s Seat, Road Lobbyists Confront Changing Landscape

For Immediate Release

No Longer in the Driver’s Seat, Road Lobbyists Confront Changing Landscape

WASHINGTON - Transforming
federal transportation policy into a coherent plan that incorporates
road construction, local development initiatives, and public transit has
been a thorny endeavor, even by Washington standards, as the
influential road lobby comes to terms with a push for "livability"
proposals. In the new Center for Public Integrity analysis, "The Road Gang," lobbying disclosure data indicates
that while highway interests have spent millions lobbying Congress for a
new bill, there's little progress to show for their efforts.

The
federal road gang - an influential assembly of highway engineers, labor
unions, automobile associations, truckers and regional transportation
coalitions - paid more than 300 lobbyists and spent more than $65
million lobbying Congress in 2009. In trying to influence the next $500
billion transportation bill, the road lobby is tangling with supporters
of "livability" policies, which emphasize more mixed-use forms of
transportation, such as mass transit and neighborhoodwalkways and
bicycle paths. And everyone is wrestling with issues of crumbling
infrastructure and new capacity at a time when the federal gasoline tax
isn't funding what it used to.

Complicating
the struggle to draft the next multiyear transportation bill is an
economy hit by high unemployment, especially among construction workers,
declining fuel tax revenues, and opposing interests unable to agree on a
common set of principles and priorities. The last federal
transportation law is on its fifth extension since September and a new
bill remains stalled in Congress until lawmakers figure out how to pay
for it.  

View a summary
of this Center project on YouTube
, narrated by Center staff writer
Matt Lewis, who traveled to South Florida to see how these issues play
out in local communities.

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The Center for Public Integrity is a nonprofit organization dedicated to producing original, responsible investigative journalism on issues of public concern. The Center is non-partisan and non-advocacy. We are committed to transparent and comprehensive reporting both in the United States and around the world.

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