WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Bill Panos, the Director of the Wyoming Department of Transportation, made a trip to Washington D.C. to testify on Capitol Hill. His mission was to stress Wyoming’s infrastructural needs to federal lawmakers. He says that Wyoming’s infrastructure requires specific solutions from the federal government.
Bill Panos, Director of the Wyoming Department of Transportation, says Washington needs to come up with infrastructure solutions on a state-by-state basis.
"We can use it right away," said Panos. "We have projects ready to go."
Panos' testimony on Capitol Hill revolved around direct federal investment in his state’s infrastructure.
"We have a great surface transportation system in Wyoming, it’s just that some of the federal proposals that are being developed now may not be applicable to rural states," said Panos.
He says federal investment is the best way to keep infrastructure sound. He says a private-public partnership is simply not realistic or effective in a state like Wyoming.
"They require a revenue stream and because of our low population, because of the nature of our surface transportation system, it just doesn’t lend itself well," said Panos.
President Donald Trump has expressed ambitions to fix American infrastructure, floating the idea of a massive spending bill. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) says fixing roads and bridges is essential, but funding is always a question.
"We want to make sure we find solutions to take care of Wyoming’s roads and Washington’s responsibility for the payment for that," said Barrasso.
As the new Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Barrasso is intimately familiar with Wyoming’s roads and says Washington should pay for their needs. He says rural communities like the ones in his state need specific solutions for their specific issues.
"When Washington comes up with a one size fits all solution, it hardly ever works for Wyoming or the rural communities that are represented in the states that are also serving on this committee," said Barrasso.
Panos says he was pleased that the Committee heard the needs of Wyoming, and believes they will respond accordingly.