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Entries in Federal Highway Trust Fund (36)

Thursday
Mar082018

House Transportation Subcommittee Mulls Ways to Fix Highway Trust Fund

Transport Topics

March 8, 2018

Chairman, Bill ShusterMembers of a House transportation subcommittee seem largely in agreement that the nation’s crumbling infrastructure and near-insolvent Highway Trust Fund are in desperate need of fixes — and quickly.

However, at a March 7 hearing, they agreed less on what long-term funding mechanisms should be used to make the financial, and road and bridge repairs.
“Long-term certainty and stability in infrastructure funding is critical for our states,” said Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), the Transportation Committee chairman. “Without it, our states, our economy and the American people face the consequences. Highway and transit projects get delayed, project costs go up, and our people and businesses continue to suffer the impacts of congestion and inefficiency.”
Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, agreed.
“Beginning as early as the spring of 2020, states may have to halt construction of surface transportation projects because, once again, the Highway Trust Fund will not be able to meet its obligations,” Graves said. “There are many reasons for this – motor fuel taxes have not been raised in 25 years, fuel-economy standards have increased, not all users pay into the Trust Fund.”
Tuesday
Nov072017

Top GOP Senator won’t rule out gas tax hike for infrastructure upgrades

The Hill

November 7, 2017

The Senate’s No. 3 Republican left the door open on Tuesday to raising the federal gasoline tax to pay for infrastructure improvements — an idea currently being considered by the White House, but one that has repeatedly run into a buzz saw of opposition on Capitol Hill. 
“I’m not ruling out anything at this point,” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, told reporters. “I think we need to keep our options open in terms of how we get that done.” 
“We have members who are open to all ideas about how to pay for [infrastructure],” he added. 
White House officials told a group of moderate House lawmakers last week that they are considering a gas tax hike to help offset President Trump’s infrastructure proposal. 

An industry source told The Hill that the administration is eyeing a 7-cent increase, though it’s unclear if the proposal would be included in the initial infrastructure legislation or if the administration will push to have it added at the committee level. 

It would be the first hike in the federal gasoline tax in over 20 years. The Highway Trust Fund, which provides money for road construction and other transportation projects across the country, is financed by a federal fuel tax of 18.4 cents per gallon of gasoline and 24.4 cents per gallon of diesel fuel. 
“If anything is done on the Highway Trust Fund, it will happen in the context of an infrastructure discussion,” Thune said. “If that’s what we’re going to use to pay for infrastructure in this country, then we’ve got to figure out a way to fund the trust fund.”
Tuesday
May232017

Infrastructure Triage: Fix the Bottlenecks

Real Clear Policy

May 23, 2017

Our nation’s economy relies on the continuous and efficient movement of goods and people, but the current condition of our nation’s infrastructure puts that at risk. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave America’s infrastructure a D+ on its 2017 report card. Among the recipients of the lowest marks were the nation’s highways, which the report described as “often crowded, frequently in poor condition, chronically underfunded, and are becoming more dangerous.”

For decades, we have relied on the Highway Trust Fund, which is funded primarily by the federal fuel tax, to help repair and maintain our nation’s roads and bridges. But the federal fuel tax has remained flat since 1993 and has been unable to keep pace with demands. By 2020, the Highway Trust Fund — originally intended to be a sustainable revenue source financed by users of the system — will be insolvent. And despite attempts to make up the shortfall, the fund is running on fumes today.

Wednesday
Feb222017

Those who spend the most time on the road are pleading to pay more for gas. Here’s why.

Star-Telegram

February 22, 2017

WASHINGTON- As President Donald Trump and lawmakers in both parties roll out massive infrastructure plans, no one seems to be willing to consider the hottest, most vexing piece of that legislative puzzle: raising the federal gasoline tax.

Suddenly, the effort has an important new ally: the nation’s railroads.

Motorists and truckers pay the same 18.4 cents and 24.4 cents a gallon, respectively, they did when Bill Clinton was president from 1993 to 2001. But those pennies don’t buy what they did in 1993.

The tax was enough to pay for the federal share of building and maintaining the nation’s roads, bridges and transit systems. But every year since 2008, when the shortfalls started, lawmakers have punted on higher taxes. Instead, they’ve transferring ever larger amounts of general revenues into the Highway Trust Fund to keep it running.

As of last year, Congress had poured $143 billion into the fund’s depleted coffers since the shortfalls began.

Read on...

Thursday
Feb092017

Industry coalition asks Trump for long-term Highway Trust Fund fix

Progressive Railroading

February 9, 2017

A coalition of transportation, construction and labor organizations has asked President Donald Trump to shore up the Highway Trust Fund with a long term, dedicated user-based revenue source as part of the administration's infrastructure investment plan.

In a Feb. 1 letter to Trump, the coalition agreed with the president's position that the nation's infrastructure is insufficient to support American competitiveness. Any "responsible proposal" should call for improvements to all types of infrastructure that help businesses reduce shipping, commuting, water and energy costs, the letter stated.

Organizations that signed the letter included the American Public Transportation Association, American Association of Port Authorities, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), American Council of Engineering Companies, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AFL-CIO.

Read on...

Thursday
Oct062016

No simple solutions: Paying for infrastructure to move the nation's cargo

Agri-Pulse

October 3, 2016

This article is the fourth in a seven-part series that Agri-Pulse is publishing to give readers perspective on the history and status of the many parts of America's infrastructure and improvements needed to help farmers and ranchers remain competitive and prosperous.

The next time you bite into a piece of fruit, grill a steak, or spoon into a carton of yogurt, consider how the item got from the farm to your home - and who paid for the trip. Let's take a broad look at how the country finances the highways, runways, railroads, ports and river navigation structures, and who pays for the trucks, rail cars, ships and barges that move the nation's cargo. The answer is that we all pay, but in much more varied ways even than the country's assorted transport modes themselves.

Just how large is transportation infrastructure anyway? By way of total asset value, investments in all of those transport modes are about a fourth of all U.S. infrastructure investments as estimated in an analysis by the GailFosler Group, based on Congressional Budget Office data. The other three-fourths are for the whole gamut of schools, colleges, water and sewer systems, communications and electric power systems, and other utilities.

Also, national investment can be tallied as either government or private. For the benchmark year of 2004, GailFosler segregated infrastructure investment to about 15 percent by the federal government and the rest split at about 42 percent by private interests and a like share by state and local governments combined.

Where transportation infrastructure is concerned, the long-term national trend, whether provided by private industry or public agencies, has been toward recovering investment costs from those who are served - charging them freight fees and sundry special taxes and assessments on the cargos and/or the trucks, ships and barges used to move them. Also, often imposing special taxes and fees on the fuel that the carriers burn.

That trend has entered the big data era, too, when highly sophisticated ways to collect reimbursement for infrastructure spending is on the table: for example, metering miles traveled by cars and trucks and taxing them per mile - something that Oregon is already offering some drivers as an alternative to paying fuel taxes. Yet, some rural advocates complain that a “vehicle miles traveled” or VMT fee could unfairly disadvantage those in rural areas who often have to drive long distances to work. Read on…

Thursday
Oct222015

New Poll Shows Public Supports Federal Infrastructure Investment

Majority of Americans Believe a Tax Increase is Necessary to Repair Roads

American Trucking Associations

October 20, 2015

A new national poll released today found strong support for federal investment in highway infrastructure.

The poll, the second commissioned by American Trucking Associations, was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies between August 30 and September 1, surveyed 800 registered voters on their attitudes about politics, the trucking industry and the state of infrastructure.

“The results of this poll should be taken very seriously by members of Congress as they work to complete a long-term highway bill,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. “This poll tells us the American people now believe what we’ve been saying for some time: our roads and bridges are in need of repair and we need to raise revenue to do it.”

Among the poll’s findings were:

  • Infrastructure spending is second only to education (by a 64-60 margin) the area the public thinks more money needs to be spent.
  • The number of people who believe more needs to be spent on infrastructure has risen 12 points – from 48% in 2014 to 60% this year.
  • Forty percent of the public thinks infrastructure should be a top priority for federal spending.
  • Sixty-three percent of Americans believe our roads and bridges are not being properly maintained.
  • And a majority of Americans – 53% - believe it will be necessary to raise taxes to properly maintain roads and bridges.

Read on...

Presentation of National Trucking Survey by ATA

Friday
Oct162015

Poll: 70 percent of US residents want more road funding

The AAA poll showed 70 percent of U.S. residents think "the federal government should invest more than it does now for roads, bridges and mass transit systems."

The Hill

October 13, 2015

Seventy percent of U.S. residents want Congress to increase the amount of money it spends on transportation projects, according to a new poll released on Tuesday by the AAA auto club.

The finding comes as lawmakers are facing an Oct. 29 deadline for renewing federal infrastructure spending.

The AAA poll showed 70 percent of U.S. residents think "the federal government should invest more than it does now for roads, bridges and mass transit systems."

The group's president, Marshall Doney, said the findings should spur Congress to pass a long-term transportation bill instead of settling for a temporary patch at the end of the month.

“Americans rely on our nation’s roads and bridges every day, yet Congressional inaction has led to longer commutes, more potholes and unsafe conditions,” Doney said in a statement. “Motorists are dissatisfied that our national leaders repeatedly have failed to meet the basic needs of drivers across the country.”   Read on...