More than 250 House lawmakers — both Republican and Democrat — want to see a fix for the ailing Highway Trust Fund (HTF) included in any tax reform package this year.
The fund, which distributes money around the country for road and other transportation projects, is financed by federal fuel taxes that haven’t been raised in more than 20 years.
In a bipartisan letter to the House Ways and Means Committee, lawmakers urged the panel to come up with a long-term funding solution for the Highway Trust Fund when they pursue a major overhaul of the tax code this year. Reps. Sam Graves (R-MO) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), the chair and ranking member of the Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways & Transit, spearheaded the letter.
“If states are unable to rely on timely reimbursements from the [Highway Trust Fund] for performed work, projects will be halted, improvements to road safety and congestion relief will be jeopardized, and America’s infrastructure will fall further behind the rest of the world,” the lawmakers wrote.
Congress scrounged up funding for the Highway Trust Fund in the last surface transportation bill using a series of budgetary gimmicks. But the fund will face another shortfall in 2020, when the highway bill’s current funding expires. Lawmakers will need to provide another short-term injection of cash or come up with a long-term funding solution, which has long eluded Washington. Members in the House see a new opening in Congress, given the current administration’s emphasis on infrastructure spending.
“The president has made rebuilding our transportation network a priority, and rightfully so … my focus is on making sure we’re being responsible in how we plan for and fund projects in the future,” said Rep. Graves.
He continued, “The best thing we can do for this country’s transportation infrastructure is bring long-term certainty to the Highway Trust Fund.”
Source: The Hill