(1) As newly elected Chair of the BPC’s Board of Directors, what do you believe is in store for the organization in 2010?
Bipartisanship has a critical role to play in our nation’s government, and I am so glad that an organization like the BPC is working to bring the parties together on key issues. The American people are frustrated with “business-as-usual” in Washington, DC. They are ready for Republicans and Democrats to put aside their partisan bickering and break the gridlock on the critical issues facing our country – whether it be health care reform, climate change, or national security. With the BPC’s track record of producing meaningful, politically-viable policy recommendations in these areas, I know the organization will play a critical role in advancing the nation’s agenda in 2010.
(2) What types transportation investments do you believe our country needs?
I am fortunate to serve as part of the BPC’s National Transportation Policy Project. The country obviously needs to invest more in its transportation infrastructure, but we need to invest wisely. We should strategically invest in transportation programs and in comprehensive systems that are linked to achieving a full range of clearly defined national goals that focus on outcomes, performance, and accountability. We need to prioritize the investment of scarce public resources on those programs, projects, and activities that can bring the greatest benefits across modes to support economic growth and competitiveness, to improve energy security and environmental sustainability, and to enhance safety.
(3) What is the most important reform you would like to see in the next surface transportation authorization bill?
The next surface transportation bill will almost certainly focus on performance management. We should work to ensure that an emphasis on goals, performance, outcomes, and accountability is part of the bill and that these values have real meaning. Funding must be linked to performance. The meaningful introduction of these concepts in national surface transportation legislation can only occur in the context of significant institutional reform at all levels of government and collaboration across modal, agency, and jurisdictional lines at the state and metropolitan levels.
(4) Which issues do you believe Republicans and Democrats can work on together this Congress?
Even with the midterm elections on the horizon, I am hopeful that Republicans and Democrats can put aside the political rhetoric and make progress on doing the work of the American people. There is so much work to be done. Last week’s summit convened by President Obama showed that there are legitimate differences between the two parties on health care reform, but I think there is some room for compromise. We can’t afford to miss this opportunity to make real, significant improvements to our health care system. I believe Republicans and Democrats understand that, and I remain optimistic that they can work together to pass a bill this year. I also believe there is a tremendous opportunity for the two parties to collaborate on a bipartisan plan to address the nation’s growing debt and deficits. We’re headed for a fiscal disaster if we don’t act soon – and I am excited that the BPC’s new Debt Task Force is poised to play a significant role in the debate.
(5) With all the snow in DC in the last month, the countdown to summer is already underway. What’s your favorite summer vacation spot?
My family loves to spend time on the southern coast of Maine. It’s our favorite place…even in the winter!