Since its creation in 1956, the Highway Trust Fund has been funded almost entirely by fuel taxes and has been integral to growing our nation’s economy and ensuring the timely and efficient movement of people and goods.
With another self-imposed funding cliff looming as the current authorization expires on May 31, states are already cutting back on construction projects. Now is the time for Congress to fix this crisis, not merely postpone it. Congress has passed two partial authorizations and 23 short-term extensions since the last six-year bill was enacted in 1998. It’s not going to get any easier.
The need is compelling for a significant infusion in the Highway Trust Fund, and the benefits are obvious. Although nothing is free, according to an S&P 500 research report, each $1.3 billion invested in infrastructure generates $2 billion of economic growth, creates 29,000 jobs and reduces the deficit by $200 million.
Earlier this year, I introduced what would be the first gas tax increase in 22 years, joined by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO, the American Trucking Associations and AAA, Transportation for America, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association and a broad array of leaders across the political spectrum. They are calling for a gas tax increase to move freight more efficiently, increase economic activity, put hundreds of thousands to work at family-wage jobs and keep Americans safe as we travel. There is no better solution, and every other approach that has been offered has more objections and greater problems.
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