John D. Boyd

Barge Operators to Congress: 'Raise Our Taxes'

It’s not often that an industry comes to Congress begging to pay higher taxes — but that’s exactly what users of the inland waterways barge system are proposing.

The barge industry’s Waterways Council Inc. and a variety of agriculture, business and labor groups wrote last week to House tax writers urging a 6-cent- to 9-cent-per-gallon increase in the 20-cent-per-gallon fuel tax that operators pay to help fund construction of and improvements to the nation’s system of inland locks and dams.

Shuster Uses Social Media in Innovative Pitch for Water Bill

House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster waited months after the Senate passed a water projects bill to present a House version, but infrastructure policy groups said it was worth the wait.

It was more than just the substance of the bill that pleased supporters of investments in harbor and inland waterways infrastructure. Committee leaders rolled out their proposal (HR 3080) with attention-getting graphics that quickly created social-media buzz — and may have changed forever how congressional committees try to sell complex transportation legislation to their members and the public. The approach may be a dress rehearsal for the bigger challenge next year of selling new highway and rail bills.

Shuster Apologizes for Remarks on Obama Speech

House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster apologized Wednesday at a major infrastructure conference, and later at a committee hearing, for remarks he made Tuesday night suggesting President Barack Obama lied about CEO interest in high-speed passenger rail service.

Shuster, R-Pa., was the keynote speaker at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s “Let’s Rebuild America” conference, which it billed as a transportation issues summit and was one of the first public events for Shuster since he took over last month as committee chairman.

Report Tallies Costs of Road Congestion -- and Political Gridlock

Transportation funding advocates in Congress got some fresh ammunition Tuesday with the release of a new report on worsening road congestion for urban commuters, which highlights the sometimes nightmarish commute for the Washington area as well as the rising costs of gridlock to the broader economy.

The Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s annual Urban Mobility Report said the nation’s capital is again the worst urban area for congestion, where highway commuters and freight-hauling truck drivers lose an extra 67 hours and 32 gallons of fuel in jammed traffic compared with free-flowing travel, costing them nearly $1,400 dollars each.