Ways and Means Democrats Urge Camp to Hold Hearings on Funding Options for the Federal Highway Trust Fund

Jan 16, 2014

WASHINGTON – Ways and Means Committee Democrats, in a letter led by Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), urged Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp to hold hearings as soon as possible on financing options for transportation projects. See the signed letter here.  Full text of the letter is below. 

BACKGROUND

The Highway Trust Fund program provides a federal source of funding for the nation’s infrastructure (e.g. roads, highways, bridges, and mass transit projects) and supports millions of American jobs.

The American Society of Civil Engineers gave the US infrastructure system a D+ in its 2013 report card, emphasizing that the cost of our failing transportation system could result in the loss of 876,000 jobs by 2020.  America’s failure to repair its infrastructure continues to cost the economy billions of dollars in lost commerce annually, further hindering competitiveness.

FULL TEXT

Dear Chairman Camp,

We begin this year with a renewed call to work with us on a bipartisan basis to craft legislation that would create American jobs and improve our economy.  We write today to respectfully request that you hold a series of hearings to explore new funding options for the Federal Highway Trust Fund program.   This program provides a federal source of funding for the nation’s infrastructure (e.g., roads, highways, bridges, and mass transit projects) and supports millions of American jobs. 

As you know, our transportation infrastructure system is in dire straits.  The American Society of Civil Engineers gave it a D+ in its 2013 report card, emphasizing that the cost of our failing transportation system could result in the loss of 876,000 jobs by 2020.  Indeed, our nation’s failure to repair its infrastructure costs our economy billions of dollars in lost commerce annually, further hindering America’s competitiveness.

The spending authority for Federal Highway Trust Fund program expires on September 30, 2014.  At that time, we will face the prospect of a dramatic reduction in transportation resources because the nearly $21.2 billion that was invested in the highway program through MAP-21 will have been expended.  Our transportation programs will begin to notice the drop in funding this summer, when the Highway Trust Fund’s available cash on hand is likely to fall below $4 billion, which is the minimum amount necessary to maintain a sufficient balance to meet week-to-week obligations.  Below this amount, reimbursements to states will be delayed, construction projects will be curtailed, and jobs will be lost throughout the economy.

We have fewer than nine months to find a funding solution for our infrastructure system.  Thus, time is of the essence.  The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee already has begun its hearings on reauthorization, and Chairman Shuster has promised a bill on the House floor before August. 

In light of the above, we respectfully request that you work with us to schedule hearings on transportation finance in the near future.  We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Members, Ways and Means Democrats

 

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