By Dean Franks, senior vice president, congressional relations, ARTBA

The 24 Republican and 24 Democrat members of the House Problem Solvers Caucus Jan. 10 released a report that lays out the priorities they’d like to see as part of any infrastructure package produced in 2018.

Included in the document are four ways the caucus says could be considered to address the Highway Trust Fund solvency issue:

  • an adjustment to the current federal motor fuels user fees;
  • a fee charged to hybrid and electric vehicles;
  • a freight fee similar to the current air cargo tax levied on aviation shipping services; and
  • the further exploration of distance-based user fees for motor vehicles.

The report also calls for additional investments in ports and waterways, aviation, water and wastewater, energy and communications infrastructure. In addition to the bipartisan call for additional investments, the caucus also calls for various policy changes, including on streamlining and project delivery, life cycle assessments of projects and the budgetary treatment of various programs.

The ARTBA co-chaired Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) released a statement that commended the caucus for highlighting the nation’s growing infrastructure needs and providing funding proposals.

The caucus, which is equally divided between the two parties, has the goal of finding solutions to the nation’s most pressing problems. It is co-chaired by Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) and Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.).  The infrastructure report was developed by a caucus working group co-chaired by Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) and Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.).

With the release of the Trump administration’s plan for a $1 trillion infrastructure package expected near the president’s Jan. 30 State of the Union address, the Problem Solvers Caucus report adds to what is quickly becoming an active debate on the issue in the early months of 2018.