By Dave Bauer, senior vice president of government relations, ARTBA
Transportation construction industry advocates can help boost efforts to resolve the Highway Trust Fund’s (HTF) chronic insolvency by urging their member of the House to support a new letter aimed at resolving the problem through a comprehensive federal tax reform bill.
House Highways & Transit Subcommittee Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and Ranking Member Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) are asking their colleagues to join them on the letter urging the House Ways & Means Committee to include “a long-term solution to the Highway Trust Fund structural revenue deficit” as part of legislation now being developed to reform the U.S. tax code.
Comprehensive tax legislation is a priority for President Donald Trump and Republican leaders in the House and Senate, and the Ways & Means Committee is planning to move a tax reform measure through the House in the coming months.
Although highway and transit investment has been temporarily stabilized thanks to a $70 billion transfer to the HTF from the federal general fund as part of 2015’s “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act,” this most recent trust fund infusion will be exhausted by the time the FAST Act expires in 2020. At that point, the fund will once again be unable to support existing levels of surface transportation investment.
Graves and Norton led a similar letter in 2016 that was signed by 130 House members—56 Republicans and 76 Democrats—after only being circulated for a matter of weeks. The difference this time is that—unlike last year—we have more time to build support and a tax bill is actually expected to be considered in 2017. The deadline to get signatures on the new letter is May 19.
We are asking all ARTBA members to call the Capitol switchboard at 202.225.3121, get connected with your representative’s office, and then ask them to sign the Graves-Norton letter and demonstrate their support for finally ending the HTF gimmicks and short-term patches, and providing states with real certainty about future federal highway and public transportation investment. Or use ARTBA’s digital Grassroots Action Center.