The incoming House Republican majority recently unveiled its proposed rules for operating the chamber in 2011 and 2012. Authors of the package claim it will increase transparency and make it easier to cut federal spending.
Among the proposed rules changes is a repeal of the guaranteed funding requirement for annual federal highway investment. Currently, any member of the House can raise a point of order to block legislation that would reduce federal highway investment from the levels set in a multi-year reauthorization bill. These guaranteed investment levels are based on incoming Highway Trust Fund (HTF) revenues. This protection was the most significant contribution of the 1998 surface transportation bill TEA-21 as it restored integrity and “trust” to the Highway Trust Fund by assuring all highway user fees collected by the federal government were invested in surface transportation improvements.
The House Republicans will vote on this package, and amendments to it, on Tuesday, January 4, 2011. Democrats will be given an opportunity to offer an alternative on January 5, but the chances of passage of this alternative are highly unlikely.
The only way this package will be modified is if House Republicans hear from their constituents over the next week about the damage this proposal would do to state transportation programs and the transportation construction industry.
ASCE strongly supports ensuring that all infrastructure trust funds are secure, and has fought for years to ensure that taxes going into the Highway Trust Fund are used for their intended and authorized purpose. See ASCE Policy Statements on Transportation Trust Funds (PS 434) and Transportation Funding (PS 382).
Visit ASCE’s Click & Connect with Congress advocacy website to read background on this issue and draft a message to your Representative. The House Republican Conference will vote on the rules package on Tuesday, January 4. To ensure your Representative gets the message before that vote, please CALL his or her office.
If your are not able to call your Representative, you can send an email message.
Thank you for your efforts on this ASCE Priority Issue.
Please contact ASCE Government Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-789-7850 if you have any questions.