With the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) inching ever so closer to insolvency, organizations are redoubling efforts to ensure Congress is passes a permanent fix, rather than a patch.
AAA, the American Trucking Associations, and the U.S Chamber of Commerce submitted a joint letter to Congress Jan. 26 urging members of the 114th Congress to raise the federal gas tax, the primary source of funding for the HTF.
The fee was last increased in 1993 under the Clinton administration. Without another patch, the HTF will no longer be funded beyond May of this year.
A bipartisan bill is in the works that would supply monies from a tax on overseas profits of U.S. companies. However, this may only be a short-term fix, as it’s being reported that the tax would only supply funds for two years.
The Obama administration as well as House Speaker John Boehner have voiced support for corporate tax code reforms for funding highway projects.
“There are many challenges that Congress must address this year,” the groups stated in the letter, “but we believe that finding a solution for funding the Highway Trust Fund is at the top of the list. Rather than continuing to resort to short-term funding patches that only delay tough decisions, our organizations support action to address the issue pragmatically, immediately, and sustainably.”
“While the impact of insufficient funding is evident,” the groups’ statement continued, “how we got here is not always clear.” To clarify this situation, the groups created an animated and interactive infographic to illustrate the impact of the HTF on the U.S. transportation system and how the federal fuels user fee is used.
The infographic describes in plain language exactly how the HTF benefits not only roadways, but the economic benefits of a sound transportation system. It includes details on the history of the fund, links to state infrastructure and roadwork project reports on The Road Information Program’s (TRIP) web site, and timelines on the funding patches and borrowing that has kept the HTF trudging along.
“While no one wants to pay more,” the groups added, “we urge you to support an increase to the federal fuels user fee, provided the funds are used to ease congestion and improve safety, because it is the most cost efficient and straightforward way to provide a steady revenue stream to the Highway Trust Fund.”