SEN. CARPER OFFERS METHOD TO PAY FOR HIGHWAY BILL

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., introduced legislation yesterday to fix the Highway Trust Fund and increase the investment in America’s infrastructure for a decade.

The Tax Relief And #FixTheTrustFund For Infrastructure Certainty Act, TRAFFIC Relief Act, would increase federal user fees on motor fuels by 16 cents over four years and offer tax credits to mitigate the increased cost of fuel. If enacted, the bill would generate at least $110 billion in new infrastructure investment over 10 years. The tax on fuel was last increased in 1993, and if it kept up with inflation, drivers would currently pay about 30 cents per gallon. 

“In order to help build a 21st century transportation system that this country needs and deserves, I am offering a commonsense solution that solves our funding problems once and for all by restoring the purchasing power of the gas tax,” Carper said. “We can finally start the important work of rebuilding and expanding America’s roads, highways, bridges and transit systems.”

NSSGA is in favor of any method of funding long-term infrastructure investments, as it can be an uphill battle for Congress to approve any tax increases. Elected officials have other methods of paying for a highway bill. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., again voiced opposition on Aug. 5 to using money from reforming the international tax code to pay for a multi-year surface transportation bill. He maintains that the DRIVE Act is a good bill that uses “credible pay-fors” views a tax overhaul “as a totally separate track, unrelated to the highway issue.” This, however, puts him at odds with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisc.

NSSGA’s DRIVING IT HOME campaign is going full throttle during the August congressional recess. Members are asked to take their member of the U.S. House of Representatives who have not yet passed a highway bill on facility tours, schedule office meetings or attend town hall meetings to urge congressional action on a multi-year reauthorization that increases investment in the nation’s surface transportation network. NSSGA’s Aggregates in Action website provides advocacy tools to assist in this effort. For any additional help, contact NSSGA Government Affairs team.