Sadly DC is replete with examples of partisan gridlock. An iconic example of cross party ire is the perceived relationship between Senators Barbara Boxer and James Inhofe. In the past these Senators have engaged in bitter partisan battles, as was evident during the debate over climate change legislation. But despite strongly diverging viewpoints, they are both legislators who are capable of collaborating when they recognize common goals. The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) appreciates the role of partisan convictions in our democratic process, and applauds efforts to find consensus across those divides.
The Highway Trust Fund is on verge of bankruptcy. Given the nation’s current fiscal crisis, there is no expectation that there will be a significant increase in funding allocated to surface transportation, but there is a reasonable chance that Congress can do better than merely passing another short term extension. Under the leadership of Senators Boxer and Inhofe, the Committee on Environment and Public Works passed a significant milestone when they unanimously approved S. 1813, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21). This legislation provides reauthorization for the nation’s transportation programs for two years. MAP-21 proposes an essential and groundbreaking step toward improving and reforming our national transportation program. We are pleased that MAP-21 will advance principles and values of performance-based goals, outcomes, and accountability in transportation programs that BPC has long been advocating.
It has become a rare for legislators who bitterly disagree to work together when they share views, however this type of collaboration is vital in order to address the critical issues facing our nation. BPC’s goal is not for people to always get along, but rather for legislators to strive to find those opportunities where they share values and interests. That is why we want to commend Senators Boxer and Inhofe, as well as members of the committee, for demonstrating that they are sincere in their willingness to improve the nation’s transportation system and provide the groundwork for the significant reforms that are needed.
- Budget Realities Demand Fundamental Transportation Reform, November 1, 2011
- Fate of Transportation Funding Tied to Super Committee?, October 25, 2011
- Robust Debate, Disagreement Can Still Yield Common Ground, October 21, 2011
- Constructive Collision of Ideas Remains the Engine of American Democracy, October 12, 2011