On Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed a short-term bill to keep the Highway Trust Fund up and running until May 2015. While Democrats were hesitant about the proposal, ultimately the bill passed with bipartisan support, 367-55. In a statement commenting on its passage, ASCE reiterated the need for a long-term, sustainable funding solution.
A wide variety of groups urged Congress in a letter to “avoid the immediate transportation cliff and improve the long-term fiscal condition of the Highway Trust Fund.”. The diverse list of co-signers, from the National Retail Federation to the civil rights organization NAACP, and ASCE to Smart Growth America, underscores the potential detriment of inaction.
Meanwhile, newspaper editorial boards continue to rally around the idea to increase the gas tax. Most notably this week The New York Times and Bloomberg offered compelling arguments for raising the user fee to ensure it has the buying power of the 2014 dollar. Even comedian Jon Stewart of The Daily Show weighed in with his views on the subject.
The White House also focused much of its week on infrastructure investment, releasing a report to support its Rebuild America campaign.
Good infrastructure has a ripple effect: Job creation ✓ Less road congestion ✓ More reliable travel times ✓ pic.twitter.com/dhzBo2Whfp
— Vice President Biden (@VP) July 15, 2014
On Thursday, President Obama visited Delaware’s I-495 bridge to announce the administration’s new public-private partnership funding initiative, the Build America Transportation Investment Center. This “one-stop shop” will connect state and local governments with private financing options.
This week the media discussed the Highway Trust Fund frequently, and the topic will likely remain in the headlines into next week as the Senate prepares to act on a program extension. Therefore, there is still much work to be doing to #FixtheTrustFund. Join that effort by contacting Congress now and encouraging long-term, sustainable legislation.