By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA
The Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) told House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) in a July 7 letter that it “remains highly engaged in efforts to enact a permanent solution for the Highway Trust Fund’s (HTF) structural revenue deficit” and that it was “disappointed to see addressing this critical issue was not included” in the broad tax reform proposal Brady and the House leadership unveiled June 24.
“Failure to address the HTF’s revenue shortfall as part of a comprehensive measure would increase the likelihood of Congress again shifting funds from elsewhere in the budget—at the expense of other economic sectors—to support another in a long-string of one-time trust fund infusions,” the 31-member coalition co-chaired by ARTBA said in a communication also sent all House members. “While such actions have temporarily stabilized highway and transit investment, they do not provide states the certainty needed to implement long-term transportation plans.”
In May, 130 House members signed a letter to Brady and Ways & Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-Mich.) urging them to make permanently stabilizing the HTF a priority for any tax reform proposal. That effort was led by House Highways and Transit Subcommittee Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and Ranking Democrat Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.).
The $70 billion transferred into the HTF as part of the 2015 surface transportation program reauthorization, called the FAST Act, will be liquidated in FY 2020. Waiting until that point to address the trust fund’s revenue shortfall would result in a nearly $18 billion average annual shortfall between existing revenue and the amount needed to prevent cuts in highway and public transportation spending.
Read the TCC letter.