Today Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-4), the top Democrat on the House’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, introduced legislation to raise approximately $500 billion to repair America’s deteriorating roads, bridges, and transit systems. The bill, H.R. 1664 – Investing in America: A Penny for Progress Act, finances the additional investment by authorizing the Treasury Department to issue 30-year bonds annually through 2030. To repay the bonds, the federal motor fuels tax would be indexed beginning in 2017. The federal motor fuels tax of 18.4 cents per gallon on gasoline and 24.4 cents per gallon on diesel has not been raised since 1993 and inflation has caused it to lose 40% of its value. Indexing the motor fuels tax is expected to increase the gas and diesel taxes by about 1 cent per year. H.R. 1664 would increase federal investment in surface transportation 30% annually over current funding levels.
ASCE’s 2017 Infrastructure Report Card graded our nation’s roads a “D,” bridges a “C+” and, and transit a “D-.” The report card also found that our nation’s current level of investment in surface transportation is less than half of what’s needed. The U.S. needs to invest an additional $1.1 trillion in surface transportation alone over the next ten years from all levels of government. Failing to sufficiently invest in America’s deteriorating infrastructure will have a cascading impact on our nation’s economy, impacting business productivity, GDP, employment, personal income, international competitiveness, and, most importantly, public safety. If the surface transportation funding gap is not addressed, the U.S. will lose over $1.2 trillion in GDP and 1.1 million jobs by 2025. H.R. 1664 would be a major step towards meeting the nation’s transportation funding need.
ASCE is proud to endorse this legislation and is already joined by 40 other organizations including the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, American Trucking Association, and the National League of Cities.