The hour glass is running thinner on the federal surface transportation program. Congress has only three weeks left to pass a robust, multiyear surface transportation bill before the self-imposed deadline. This week ASCE joined with the American Road and Transportation Builders Association in sponsoring an ad directed at Congress and the President, asking that they continue the legacy of federal investment in transportation.
One Congressman introduced legislation this week that could be an answer to that call. Republican Rep. Tom Rice’s legislation, “The Highway Trust Fund Certainty Act,” would raise the federal gas tax by 10.1 cents-per-gallon and index the rate to inflation. This rate would increase Trust Fund revenues by $17 billion—addressing the current funding shortfall and allowing slight growth to the program. In a letter to the Congressman, ASCE commended Rep. Rice’s leadership on this issue, but noted that additional federal investment will still be required to meet our nation’s long-term surface transportation infrastructure needs.
Another gas tax increase proposal, the UPDATE Act, also continues to gain supporters and now has 35 co-sponsors.
Meanwhile, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx is urging Congress to step up and pass a long-term highway funding bill. “We’ve got some problems. I would label it a crisis — a legitimate, disturbing and alarming crisis in our infrastructure system,” Foxx told a small group of reporters at the department’s headquarters Wednesday. He also warned that the administration will begin to notify states about the threat to their transportation funding if Congress doesn’t pass a long-term extension soon.
States like Alabama, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Missouri and more are publicly acknowledging their dire infrastructure needs and have begun to halt construction due to the uncertainty of federal funding.
With three weeks left, it’s important that your Members of Congress hear from you about why they must work together to come up with a long-term funding solution before July 31 in order to #FixTheTrustFund. Write a letter, call you Senators’ and Representative’s offices, and tweet using #FixTheTrustFund to remind your representation in Washington they have a job to do and a deadline fast approaching.