A massive surface transportation package passed the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday with numerous proposals backed by the travel community safely aboard.
Among them: a provision encouraging local and state transportation planners to seek input from travel and tourism leaders before advancing projects; and a measure creating a national commission on travel infrastructure to ensure that the country’s transportation resources are marshalled effectively to support the economically vital travel and tourism sector.
“First of all, I want to thank and congratulate House leaders, especially Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster and ranking Democrat Peter DeFazio, for passing the country’s first long-term transportation package in a decade,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “Providing certainty in the infrastructure sphere is going to shift our economic recovery into a higher gear.”
“This bill acknowledges the need to prioritize travel as an industry, because we are among the top sectors in creating activity and jobs on every rung of the economic ladder and in every corner of the country,” Dow said. “We’ve been stating the case for years that a little investment in travel returns massive and broad-based dividends—really, the empirical data on this simply cannot be denied—and the House bill is evidence that political leaders listen and act upon good sense.”
The base bill cleared by the T&I Committee contained language urging travel leaders’ participation in local and state transportation planning. But the amendment creating the national travel infrastructure panel was added on the House floor was offered on the floor by Reps. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.), Dina Titus (D-Nev.) and Tom Rice (R-S.C.).
While most such amendments were rejected during consideration of the package by the whole House, the Brown-Titus-Rice amendment surprised many observers by passing 216-207.
“That vote is as strong a signal as we’ve seen that the sense of the need to support travel resides within the entire House,” said Dow. “We’re thankful to Representatives Brown, Titus and Rice for shepherding the amendment through in a tight vote, and we hope to see a similar result when the House conferences with the Senate, and to soon see this bill on the president’s desk.”
The U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry that generates $2.3 trillion in economic output and supports 15.3 million jobs. U.S. Travel's mission is to increase travel to and within the United States. Visit www.ustravel.org.