Passing Zone

Hope for Highways Inside the Beltway

November 7, 2016

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Photo: Evan Lockridge
Photo: Evan Lockridge

November 8 is the day of reckoning for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. But no matter if Secretary Clinton or Mr. Trump prevails, the next president will face a still-gridlocked Congress.

Yes, the Democratic Party may, if they can gain four or five seats (depending on which party takes the White House) regain control of the Senate, but it will be a slim majority that will prevent them from pursuing a bold agenda. The Republican Party may lose some seats in the House, but since most of those voted out will be so-called Establishment Republicans, House Speaker Paul Ryan (WI-R) will have a harder time pushing bipartisan measures — that is if he can even hold onto his leadership post.

Maybe that projected reality is why fully 40% of the way-inside-the-Beltway insiders responding to a just-out lobbying survey contend that the legislation most likely to get passed in 2017 will be a “comprehensive infrastructure bill.” The survey, commissioned by communications firm Rasky Baerlein, sought to quantify what lobbyists, think-tankers and association executives figure will fly next year on Capitol Hill.  

One can surmise that these experts on the inner workings of Congress concluded that with partisan politics still poisoning the two chambers, the best hope for breaking the logjam will be on an issue that throughout our nation’s history has been debated and advanced almost always without even a whiff of partisanship attached to it — building and maintaining roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure to smooth commerce and ensure national defense.

On the other hand, maybe these observers are being a tad unrealistic. Consider that they tagged as the second most likely measure (by 22%) to pass Congress next year the confirmation of Merrick Garland as a Justice of the Supreme Court.

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David Cullen

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Executive Editor David Cullen comments on the positive and negative factors impacting trucking – from the latest government regulations and policy initiatives coming out of Washington DC to the array of business and societal pressures that also determine what truck-fleet managers must do to ensure their operations keep on driving ahead.


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