John F. Foran Legislative Award:
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer
Senator Boxer Keeps Federal Funding Flowing
The Bay Area’s own U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer did what many are finding impossible to do of late in gridlocked Washington: She pushed a bill through Congress. Boxer’s tenacity as chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee was key to passage this past summer of the nation’s new surface transportation law, known as MAP-21. In recognition of this feat, Senator Boxer will receive MTC’s John F. Foran Legislator of the Year award.
The bill, whose full title is Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, authorizes $105 billion for highway and transit programs through FY 2014, roughly the same level of funding provided in FY 2012, plus a small increase to offset inflation. “Given the strong opposition to any tax increases in the 112th Congress, combined with heightened concern about the deficit, the fact that Senator Boxer was able to hold funding steady and avoid a draconian 30 percent cut championed by House Republican leaders is a significant achievement,” noted Tom Bulger, MTC’s Washington advocate.
Still, there’s more work ahead. “I’m hopeful that we’ll continue to work in this same bipartisan spirit to identify a dependable funding source for the Highway Trust Fund,” said Boxer, noting the significant decline in federal gas tax receipts. “Roads and bridges have to be fixed. Fifty percent of our roads are in disrepair and 70,000 of our bridges nationwide are not up to standard. As we all know, roads and bridges are neither Democratic nor Republican, so I will work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to keep the nation’s transportation system moving forward.”
Boxer has long been an ally to transportation. Prior to her current post as chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, she advocated for mass transit funding as chair of the Senate’s Banking and Urban Affairs Subcommittee. This long history made Boxer an easy choice for this year’s Foran Legislative Award, created in 1986 upon the retirement of state Senator John F. Foran, a longtime friend of transportation who is the author of the bill that created MTC.
– Ellen Griffin
Transactions Fall 2012 Issue: Contents