Cumberland Times-News

Local News

November 29, 2012

Pa. congressman to chair House transportation committee

Work includes finding funding for U.S. 219 project

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Hollidaysburg, on Wednesday said he’s going to look for every penny he can find to improve the nation’s highways, bridges, airports, railways and waterways.

His comments came three hours after the seventh-term congressman was selected as chairman of the powerful House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

The selection by the House Republican conference makes Shuster the highest ranking Pennsylvania congressman.

“Funding is a challenge. We’ve got to consider user fees on all aspects of transportation,” he said in a teleconference with about a dozen reporters from throughout the 11 counties making up the 9th Congressional District.

“We’ve got to think outside the box. I don’t think you can rule anything out,” he said from his Capitol Hill office.

Shuster, 52, a Bedford County native who has been in Congress since 2001, will serve as chairman of the same committee that his father, Bud Shuster of Everett, headed from 1995 to 2001.

The younger Shuster’s district includes portions of Cambria and Somerset counties.

“I obviously thought about my father. I can call him at any time and ask his opinion,” he said of the man who represented the 9th district for three decades. “But on the other side of the coin, he’ll call me and tell me what I did wrong.”

Several weeks ago Shuster began hinting that he wanted to take over as chairman of the committee on which he has served for 11 years, much of the time as chairman of the subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management.

Two days after winning re-election, he announced his candidacy for the leadership post and sent letters to fellow Republicans outlining his leadership role and strong record for working across party lines.

The chairmanship became available because Florida Rep. John Mica, who served as chairman of the committee for the past six years, is barred from continuing by term limit rules.

While Shuster said he had to “jump over” a number of other members with more seniority, he had no serious competition for the leadership role.

Shuster’s challenges include finding money for completion of the final section of U.S. Route 219 south to Interstate 68 in Maryland, funding improvements to routes 81 and 95 elsewhere in the state and updating waterways and airports.

 Asked about how he’ll find more money to fund highway construction, Shuster would not say Wednesday whether he would seek an increase in the federal gas tax. It has remained at 18.4 cents per gallon for two decades.

He called upon the states, including Pennsylvania, to step up with enhanced revenue to go along with federal money.

“The states have to do their share. It’s not just a federal issue,” he said.

Because of a lack of funding, the current federal transportation law covers just two years and is set to expire in 2014.

“We didn’t have the money to pay for a longer bill. That’s going to be the big challenge, how to fund a longer bill,” he said.

While he speaks fondly about local highways and major interstates in the western and eastern borders of his district, Shuster vowed to work for all areas of the country.

“One of my goals is to get back to bipartisanship on the committee,” he said. “There are no Democratic or Republican bridges, and I’m going to work very hard to reach across the aisle.”

Transportation and Infrastructure is one of the largest committees in the Congress.

In addition to elements of transportation, it has jurisdiction over areas including clean water and waste water management, pipelines, flood damage reduction, economic development of depressed areas, disaster preparedness, and activities of the Army Corps of Engineers and various missions of the Coast Guard.

Text Only
Local News
  • Easter experience Easter experience

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Game on: City interested in baseball study

    After it looked like the objection of a couple of constituents to a study on the feasibility of bringing a minor league baseball team to the area may have torpedoed the thought, county commissioners and some city officials sounded ready to sing a chorus of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” on Thursday.

    April 18, 2014

  • DEREK SHEELY Charges against helmet maker stand in case of Frostburg player’s death

    A Montgomery County judge this week declined to dismiss charges against a helmet manufacturer in a case brought by the parents of a Frostburg State University football player who died of head injuries in August 2011 following four straight days of heavy contact drills in practice.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • GAYLE MANCHIN W.Va. BOE president speaks on issues at WVSDB

    West Virginia Board of Education President Gayle Manchin responded to issues at the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind during an interview with the Times-News Wednesday morning.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • REGINALD REDMAN Moorefield man jailed on felony drug count

    A Moorefield man was arrested on various charges Thursday, including a felony drug offense for possession of amphetamines, according to the Keyser Police Department.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Blossoming optimism Blossoming optimism

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cemetery group’s efforts revive Oak Hill grounds Cemetery group’s efforts revive Oak Hill grounds

    After you drive Alexander and Furnace streets then navigate a couple of switchbacks on Cemetery Road, you’d figure there would be no more uphill.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Proposed county budget holds most agencies flat

    After taking into account an income tax shortfall, Allegany County Finance Director Jason Bennett said he’ll propose a budget that holds most outside agencies to flat funding and funds the Board of Education at what county officials say are maintenence of effort levels for 2015.

    April 17, 2014

  • RYAN WOLF Wolf named 2014-15 Garrett Teacher of the Year

    Southern Garrett High School teacher Ryan Wolf has been named the 2014-15 Garrett County Teacher of the Year.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rep. Delaney discusses congressional gridlock Rep. Delaney discusses congressional gridlock

    While giving a civics lesson at Frostburg State University on Thursday, U.S. Rep. John Delaney, congressman from Maryland’s sixth district, told students that the polarization in Congress is due primarily to redistricting and a poorly designed Congressional schedule.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read
News related video
Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military