Congress returned to Washington this week with the Highway Trust Fund on the agenda. The Senate Finance Committee offers a bipartisan proposal by Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah. The House Ways and Means Committee marked up a bill Thursday morning, which is expected to be voted on by the full chamber next week. However, either bill would take some reconciliation to pass through the other chamber. More critically, neither bill provides a long-term, sustainable funding solution.
These discussions take place with a backdrop of the DOT warning a 28 percent reimbursement cut for states. “Slower and lower payments,” as Secretary Foxx warned, are concerning states to varying degrees. While some states have contingency plans that will allow projects to continue, the federal government’s role as a partner in transportation is crucial. Vice President Biden echoed this belief on Wednesday, while among government and business officials, including several ASCE members, when he urged Congress to act, both to prevent a shortfall and toward a long-term bill. He noted that historically transportation funding was a bipartisan issue which benefits everyone.
Congress is in session for a few more weeks before August recess. Encourage your senators and representative to continue working toward a long-term, sustainable solution to fix the Trust Fund because investing in transportation infrastructure ensures mobility, a benefit to the economy.