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NEW COALITION TO PUSH FOR BETTER SURFACE TRANSPORTATION

 NEW COALITION TO PUSH FOR BETTER SURFACE TRANSPORTATION
 WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Nineteen of the nation's largest private-sector consumer and industry transportation groups today announced the formation of a national coalition to work with government agencies on meeting consumer needs for improved surface transportation.
 The chief goal of the new Coalition for Safe and Efficient Transportation is to provide a process for federal, state and local officials to hear ideas from highway taxpayers on the effective investment of $155 billion in federal taxes authorized by the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA).
 The formation of the coalition is "especially timely just ahead of the heavily traveled Labor Day weekend when the need for increased highway investment will be noticed by many motorists," said Lester P. Lamm, president of the Highway Users Federation, speaking for the coalition.
 As President Bush said when he signed the legislation last December, the main focus of the ISTEA is "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs." The vehicle, tourism, agricultural and highway-related groups to be represented in the new coalition together employ one of every five American workers.
 The coalition will work for full funding of highway, safety and transit capital construction programs eligible for federal aid. Early optimism over the $155 billion authorized by the ISTEA has been dampened by low 1992 appropriations and the possibility of even further reductions next year.
 The $155 billion is to be spent over a 6-year period, with most of the money coming from federal highway taxes, particularly those on motor fuel -- now 14 cents-a-gallon on gasoline and 20 cents on diesel. The federal funds will be matched by $35 billion in state and local revenues, making a total program of $190 billion, or $1,681 for every U.S. taxpayer. The coalition members also represent highway users -- those who pay the taxes.
 The new coalition also plans to work for timely congressional approval of the newly authorized 155,000-mile National Highway System (NHS).
 The NHS is the centerpiece of the 1991 act, because it will incorporate the roads that carry 40 percent of all highway travel and 75 percent of all heavy vehicle travel.
 "The NHS is the nation's best opportunity to achieve real advances in transportation productivity, which is vital to American industry and agriculture's ability to compete in global markets and boost economic growth," said Lamm.
 The new law also allows state and local governments greatly increased flexibility in the use of federal surface transportation funds, particularly in large urban areas. The group urged public officials to include motorists and providers of transportation services, from both the public and private sectors, as participants in transportation investment decisions. The ISTEA-91 requires all decisions on major capital investments using federal surface transportation funds to be based on an open process which balances local social and environmental goals with an effective evaluation of costs and benefits of proposed projects.
 "These far-reaching decisions, which will affect generations of travelers, should obviously involve representatives of the area business community, whose employees, customers and deliveries are paying the penalty for today's traffic congestion," Lamm stated.
 The groups announcing the new coalition are the Allstate Insurance Company, the American Automobile Association, the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, the American Trucking Associations, Inc., the Asphalt Recycling and Reclaiming Association, the Associated Builders and Contractors, the Associated General Contractors, the Automotive Safety Foundation, the Construction Industry Manufacturers Association, the Highway Users Federation, the National Asphalt Pavement Association, the National Grange, the National Private Truck Council, the National Stone Association, the Portland Cement Association, the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, the Travel Industry Association of America, the Truck Renting and Leasing Association and the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association. Together, these groups speak for more than 50 million U.S. transportation users. It is anticipated that over 100 national associations and many hundreds of state and local affiliates will comprise the eventual membership.
 For further information, contact Lester P. Lamm, president, Highway Users Federation, 202-857-1211; T. Peter Ruane, president, American Road and Transportation Builders Association, 202-488-2722; or Richard Morgan, vice president, National Asphalt Pavement Association, 301-731-4748.
 -0- 9/2/92
 /CONTACT: Gerald M. Bastarache of Highway Users Federation, 202-857-1200, for the coalition/ CO: Coalition for Safe and Efficient Transportation ST: District of Columbia IN: TRN SU:


TW -- DC001 -- 5743 09/02/92 08:15 EDT
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Date:Sep 2, 1992
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