Tag Archive for 'Highway Bill'

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Democrat representative moves to increase gas tax by 15 cents

Democrat representative moves to increase gas tax by 15 cents

By Keith Laing

The Hill

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) is introducing an amendment to nearly double the 18.4-cents-per-gallon federal gas tax that is traditionally used to pay for federal transportation projects.

The Oregon Democrat is trying to attach a proposal to increase the gas tax by 15 cents to a $325 billion highway bill that is being considered by the House next week.

The proposed fuel tax increase would result in drivers paying taxes totaling 33.4 cents per gallon on their gas purchases, in addition to state taxes. The suggested gas tax hike matches a proposal that was included in the 2011 Simpson-Bowles budget reform recommendations.

Blumenauer said increasing the gas tax is the best way to close a multibillion-dollar transportation funding shortfall that has bedeviled lawmakers for a decade.

“The bill under consideration calls for a six-year period of spending authority, and hopes to be funded for three years with a combination of budget gimmicks and tax code smoke and mirrors over the next decade,” he said in a statement. “But Congress will be back to square one when that money runs out, facing an even bigger hole in the Highway Trust Fund — and once again throwing hundreds of thousands of jobs into uncertainty.”

The highway bill that is under consideration in the House only includes three years’ worth of guaranteed funding, which would be paid for mostly with revenue from the 18.4 cents per gallon federal gas tax. The tax has traditionally been used to pay for federal highway bills since the 1930’s, but it has not been increased since 1993 and it has struggled to keep pace with rising construction costs.

The gas tax brings in about $34 billion per year at its current rate, but federal government typically spends about $50 billion annually on transportation projects. Lawmakers have turned to other areas of the federal budget to close the gap in recent years, but they have been forced to settle for a series of temporary highway funding patches that advocates say make it harder for states to plan large construction projects.

Transportation advocates have long pushed for a gas tax increase to close the approximately $16 billion annual shortfall in infrastructure funding that has developed as cars have grown more fuel efficient. Lawmakers have been reluctant to ask drivers to pay more at the pump, however, leaving the federal government’s Highway Trust Fund running on fumes for years.

Blumenauer said Friday it is time now to ask drivers to pay more to maintain the roads they drive on for the first time in 22 years.

“My amendment will not only fully fund H.R. 3763, but also provide enough revenue to increase investment above the current, anemic levels of spending,” he said. “A long-term transportation reauthorization should be fully funded with revenue that is sustainable, dedicated to transportation, and big enough to give states and local governments the federal partnership they need. Adoption of my amendment would do just that.”

The House Rules Committee is scheduled to consider amendments to the highway bill on Monday afternoon. The chamber is expected to bring the measure up for a vote of the full House later next week.


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We are proud to support this initiative and lend our creativity to this cause. Join us to help make a difference in our transportation system’s future – in our future. Share this video with your U.S. Representatives to add your support to this cause.

US DOT Report on Road & Bridge Data By State

US DOT Report

ASCE Reports: U.S. House panel approves surface transportation funding package

ASCEOn October 23, 2015 the U.S. House of Representatives’ Transportation & Infrastructure Committee unveiled a six-year surface transportation reauthorization bill. The bipartisan legislation, titled, the Surface Transportation Re-authorization and Reform Act (STRRA) of 2015, contains three years of flat-level funding for highway and transit programs and will be marked-up by the committee this Thursday. In rolling out their bill, legislative sponsors have stated the importance of its provisions to reform existing programs, refocus those programs on national priorities, provide more flexibility and certainty for state and local partners, and emphasis on transportation innovation.

ASCE believes that status quo funding levels for surface transportation, as is provided in STRRA, are inadequate. Currently this underinvestment costs the average American family about $1,000 from their budget each year from now until 2020 due to the current road, bridge and transit conditions. ASCE believes that members of the House should utilize every available opportunity to attempt to increase funding levels for highway and transit programs beyond where they currently exist in STRRA.

Despite the inadequate funding levels, STRRA does contain policy items that ASCE supports, including:

  • Multi-year program certainty that will help states and localities better plan and deliver projects;
  • Accelerated project delivery reforms aimed to improve collaboration between agencies and create deadlines for agency action(s);
  • Providing grants to states for continued and expanded pilot testing of future road user fee collection systems;
  • A new competitive grant to address bus and bus facility needs;
  • Increased focus on funding for roadway safety infrastructure and on the safety needs of rural roads; and
  • An option for localities to bundle small projects such as bridges to increase efficiency.

The introduction of the House bill follows action by the Senate in July in passing a multi-year bill with increased funding levels. In order to get a bill to President Obama for his signature soon, the House will have to pass a bill and negotiate a compromise with the Senate. The House and Senate will then have to pass that identical bill through each chamber for it to be sent to the President. Please contact your House member and urge he/she to move forward on a House bill in order to get to a conference with the Senate where agreement can be reached on a final bill. The House markup is set to begin this Thursday 10-29-2015 at 10:00AM ET.

Caterpillar Calling for A Long Term Highway Bill

Doug Oberhelman

Doug Oberhelman

Doug Oberhelman, chairman and CEO of Caterpillar Inc, wrote an opinion piece for CNBC today calling for Congress to solve America’s congestion problems and invest in our infrastructure with a long-term highway bill.

Oberhelman cited a report issued by the Business Roundtable (BRT) that showed a strong U.S. public commitment to invest in world-class physical infrastructure in the mid-20th century. “That helped propel the United States to become the world’s strongest economy. Since then, investment has tapered off or flat lined, while demand for high-performing, high capacity systems has grown,” he wrote. “Infrastructure is a key component of any competitiveness measure, and by any measure the United States is falling far behind.”

Read the opinion piece on CNBC.