The committee heard testimony from transportation leaders on the current and future challenges facing the industry.
On January 17, the House of Representatives’ Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure held a hearing to evaluate the current state of the nation’s transportation system. The Committee heard from four industry leaders including Washington State Department of Transportation Secretary, Roger Millar; CEO and Executive Director of the Virginia Port Authority, Stephen Edwards; CEO of Tucker Company Worldwide, Jeffrey Tucker; and Controller for the Reiman Corporation, Lauren Benford.
In his testimony, Millar spoke about the effects years of underinvestment has had on the industry. This lack of investment has led to increased safety issues and an aging infrastructure that has placed a financial burden on transportation agencies.
“For years, infrastructure investment did not keep pace with our needs. The impacts of a lack of adequate investment to preserve and enhance our systems for all users are readily apparent and will take time and hard work to overcome,” he explained in his testimony. “There is also the cost – both monetarily and in human suffering – which we all pay as a society when it comes to transportation funding and issues such as safety.”
Millar went on to address the industry’s chronic workforce shortage and the effect it is having on delivering the projects made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). This shortage is being fueled by a large chunk of the workforce hitting retirement age and the inability to entice the next generation of talent.
“Workforce availability is a challenge for the entire transportation sector as we work together to deliver new projects and programs funded by the IIJA [Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act] and state and local governments. This involves all phases of project work and quite simply the current near-term demand outweighs the supply.”
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