Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) Photo: Evan Lockridge

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) Photo: Evan Lockridge

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), the powerful Chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has announced that he will not seek reelection this year.

The Congressman, who has represented Pennsylvania’s 9th District for 17 years and has held his chairmanship for the last 5 years, gave no reason why he won’t be running in 2018.

In an official statement, Shuster said “it is with a happy heart and a sense of accomplishment that I say this will be my final year in the U.S. Congress.” He said that it was “a difficult decision” arrived at after weeks of deliberation.

Shuster, 56, said that in this his last year as T&I chairman, he will focus “100% on working with President Trump and my Republican and Democratic colleagues in both Chambers to pass a much needed infrastructure bill to rebuild America.”

The Trump Administration is reportedly ready to release its infrastructure plan-- which it first floated publicly the day after the 2016 election-- sometime later this month.

By serving out this year as the lame-duck chairman of the transportation committee, Shuster will be free to act in a more bipartisan manner than if he were running to retain his seat. Meantime, pundits increasingly are contending that the Republican Party is at risk to lose control of both the House and the Senate in November’s mid-term election.

More specifically for Shuster, returning to Congress in 2019 would have required him to relinquish his committee gavel, due to House GOP rules that limit chairmanships to three terms.

Shuster was elected to his seat in 2011 after winning a special election to succeed his father, Bud Shuster, who had served the 9th district since 1973.

American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear saluted Shuster for his service to the nation.  “On behalf of the nation’s trucking industry, including more than 3.5 million professional drivers, I want to thank Chairman Shuster for his service in the cause of improving and modernizing our transportation system,” said Spear. 

“Throughout his career,” he continued, “Chairman Shuster has been a champion for highway safety and the trucking industry, leading the charge for increased investment in the critical highway arteries that our trucks depend on to move the nation’s goods.”