By Dean Franks, senior vice president, Congressional affairs, ARTBA
Senators Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) Oct. 29 introduced legislation to create bipartisan House-Senate commissions to address revenue shortfalls in various trust funds throughout the government, including the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). The bill, S. 2733, would also set up expedited procedures for each body of Congress to take up the recommendations of each commission.
Similar efforts have been endeavored in the past, most notably the wide-ranging “Bowles-Simpson Commission” that included a 15-cent motor fuels tax increase among its vast plans for government-wide tax and budget changes. The plan failed to receive the necessary votes among commissioners to mandate a vote in the House and Senate.
While Romney, Manchin and other bill supporters should be commended for attempting to create a process that produces an HTF solution, ARTBA is focused on fixing the problem as part of the FAST Act reauthorization process. In particular, ARTBA continues to work with Senators and their staff to ensure a long-term HTF revenue solution accompanies the five-year reauthorization bill passed unanimously out of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee July 30.