The current surface transportation authorization, “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act,” or FAST Act, provides a needed—albeit temporary—stabilization of federal highway and public transportation investment. Unfortunately, once the FAST Act expires in October 2020, the Highway Trust Fund revenue shortfalls that plagued surface transportation investment and forced multiple short-term program extensions over the last nine years will return. Due to their inability to provide a permanent revenue stream for the Highway Trust Fund, Congress and previous administrations have shifted $143 billion from elsewhere in the federal budget to preserve highway and public transit funding. Without a real permanent solution, they will once again be forced to choose between devastating cuts or more bailouts.
On July 23, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) introduced an infrastructure bill discussion draft which recommends an increase to the federal user fee on gasoline and diesel by 15 cents and 20 cents per gallon, phased in over three calendar years and indexed to inflation (after the phase in of the new user fees is complete).
This draft was put together to vet the recommended Highway Trust Fund (HTF) solution and to begin the conversation on the best path forward to resolve the ever-present funding dilemma that has prevented much-needed maintenance and improvement of America’s highways, roads, and bridges.
Your senators, representatives and President Trump need to hear that you expect them topass legislation that increases total investment in infrastructure and permanently fixes the structural revenue deficits of the Highway Trust Fund.
Please encourage federally elected officials to support investing in roads and bridges by sending a letter every week until we have a plan signed by President Trump!
TALKING POINT 1: Waiting until the next trust fund crisis to act has repeatedly led to last-minute, short-term patches that dilute state efforts to implement long-term transportation improvement plans.
TALKING POINT 2: Stabilizing and growing federal surface transportation investment would help achieve many of the goals sought in reforming the tax code, specifically creating jobs and enhancing U.S. economic competitiveness.
TALKING POINT 3: If Congress does not act, the Highway Trust Fund will face annual revenue shortfalls of $18 billion once the FAST Act expires.
TALKING POINT 4: Congress has a narrow window to address this situation before states will once again be forced to begin delaying projects due to uncertainty about future federal funds.