Congress returned to Washington this week after a two week recess, facing a new level of urgency to Fix the Highway Trust Fund before last summer’s extension ends on May 31. A few members of Congress wasted no time upon their return to the Hill to start raising this issue and offering their solutions.
On Thursday a bipartisan group of House members filed legislation to increase the federal gas tax to match inflation in order to finance our much-needed transportation investment. The Bridge to Sustainable Infrastructure Act would increase the gas tax to recoup its purchasing power, thus generating $27.5 billion that can be used to pay for nearly two years’ worth of transportation. In the release announcement explaining what prompted the lawmakers to propose this solution, Reps. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio), Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), Reid Ribble (R-Wis.), and Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) explained “We refuse to pass on the liability of our deteriorating roads and bridges to our children and grandchildren. The longer we wait to fix our crumbling infrastructure, the more it will cost in the long-run,” in a joint statement about the bill.
On April 15, Representative Delaney and Representative Hanna wrote a letter to their fellow members of Congress emphasizing the importance of committing to a long-term sustainable funding bill and supporting their bill, the Infrastructure 2.0 Act that has bipartisan support to repatriate overseas capital for domestic infrastructure repairs.
On the Senate side, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) have a bill to replenish the Highway Trust Fund, also through repatriation. All three of these efforts exemplify that infrastructure has historically been a bipartisan success, and that finding a solution to federal transportation investment is no different.
Finding a long-term federal transportation funding solution affects each state and its ability to effectively plan projects. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee and Wyoming have already postponed transportation projects because of funding delays.
With 44 days until the highway and transit policy expires, it is crucial these conversations lead to action that ensures a sustainable, long-term funding solution to #FixTheTrustFund.