Bill Schmitz with Gernatt Asphalt Products Inc. in Collins, N.Y., testified June 3 on behalf of the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA) before the House Small Business Committee at their hearing,“The Road Ahead: Small Businesses and the Need for a Long-Term Surface Transportation Reauthorization.” The hearing emphasized the importance of action on a long-term and stably funded highway bill.
Schmitz’s testimony focused on the importance of the nation’s surface transportation system to small businesses, and particularly small aggregates companies. He told the committee, “Congress needs to do what they were elected to do. Stop kicking the can down the road and address the long-term funding of our nation’s surface transportation infrastructure. No more short-term extensions. Seventy percent of NSSGA members are small businesses. Reauthorization is critical to us.”
Several members of the committee focused on the funding aspect for new highway legislation, including Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) who advocated for a general fund component so even those driving hybrids or not driving at all yet still benefit from the highway system are paying for its funding. Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.) announced that he would soon be introducing legislation to increase the fuel user fee with a corresponding decrease in personal income taxes in order to address the regressive nature of the fuel user fee on lower-income Americans.
Committee chairman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) asked Schmitz about the impact of the Waters of the United States rule recently issued by the EPA. Schmitz provided specific examples of how their operations would be negatively affected and cited studies that they have already undertaken to determine what would be considered jurisdictional under this rule.
Schmitz appeared on a panel with Don Shilling, president of General Equipment and Supplies, Fargo, ND; Matt Davis, director of Build Our New Bridge Now Coalition, Cincinnati; and Dr. Jonathan Gifford, professor and director of the Center for Transportation Public-Private Partnership Policy at George Mason University in Arlington, Va.