U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster Follows In Father’s Footsteps By Being Named Chairman Of The House Transportation And Infrastructure Committee

Harrisburg Patriot-News

U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., will take over as chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee when the 113th Congress convenes.

Shuster, who was recently re-elected to the seat he has held since 2001, learned on Wednesday that he selected over eight other members who had more seniority on the committee to take over as chair. He has served on this committee — which his father, Bud Shuster, chaired from 1995 to 2001 — for the past 12 years.

“Transportation is so vital to the economy, vital to Pennsylvania and the Ninth Congressional District because it’s the the backbone, it’s the foundation to economic development and jobs,” he said, discussing the committee’s importance.

He said he anticipates the next two years will be busy ones for his committee as it tackles legislation that aims to make improve the transportation system, make it operate more efficiently, and do it in a fiscally responsible way.

Shuster said the legislative agenda includes taking up a bill that addresses inland waterways, ports and harbors; the railroad reauthorization bill that governs freight rail and Amtrak; and next year, a reauthorization of transportation and highway bill. He said the committee also will be aggressive in its oversight of transportation laws that have been enacted to ensure they are being implemented as Congress intended.

He said he hopes the committee comprising 33 Republicans and 27 Democrats will work in a more bi-partisan fashion.

“The reality is there are no Democrat or Republican bridges. There are things Republicans and Democrats want, need, have to have … in all 435 districts across the United States so I’m going to work very hard to reach across the aisle,” Shuster said, in a conference call with reporters from around the state.

He said he will make sure rural areas of Pennsylvania aren’t shortchanged in the funding of transportation projects and took at shot at former Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell, who he said directed too much of that money to the state’s bigger cities.

But when it comes to transportation funding, he also pointed out state and local governments have a role to play, along with the federal government, in addressing that issue. He said what Congress can do best for Pennsylvania and other states is give them the flexibility to get projects done faster, which can save money that can be reinvested in other projects, and stay out of the way.

About taking on the job his dad once held, Shuster said he thought about that quite a bit today.

“He’s my father and the great thing about that is I can cal him anytime to ask advice. The other side of that coin is sometimes he’ll call me up and tell me the things I did wrong. We got a good relationship,” he said. “It’s a proud day for me and I think it’s a proud day for him.”

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2012/11/us_rep_bill_shuster_follows_in.html