By David Bauer, senior vice president of government relations, ARTBA

House Highways and Transit Subcommittee Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and Ranking Democrat Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) were joined by 128 of their colleagues in a May 25 letter urging the bipartisan leadership of the tax-writing Ways & Means (W&M) Committee to include a permanent Highway Trust Fund (HTF) revenue plan in any tax code reform bill.

The letter was signed by 56 Republicans and 74 Democrats in the two weeks it was circulated.  The fact that such broad bipartisan support was secured in a short time reflects the continued interest on Capitol Hill to avoid the previous eight-year cycle of trust fund revenue crises and temporary bailouts. Specifically, the Grave-Norton letter states:

“Simply put, if the HTF is unable to make payments to states, projects will be halted, improvements to road safety and congestion will be jeopardized, and America’s infrastructure will fall behind the rest of the world. This would put our businesses – and the American worker – at a significant disadvantage in the competitive global economy.”

The letter also emphasizes, “Every possible solution should be on the table.”

All trust fund revenue increases since 1982 have come as part of broad-based tax and budget packages, as opposed to surface transportation program reauthorization bills. As such, the W&M Committee’s plan to release a tax reform proposal in June is a prime opportunity to address the HTF’s structural revenue deficit before the next HTF cash flow crisis.

We appreciate the many ARTBA members and chapter affiliates who helped make this important letter a success.  Find out if your representative signed the Graves-Norton HTF letter.