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May 19, 2017 12:10 PM, EDT

176 House Members Urge Tax Committee to Fix Highway Trust Fund

WASHINGTON — Lobbying on behalf of infrastructure funding proponents on May 18 appears to have paid off as 70 additional members of the U.S. House have signed a letter urging the tax policy committee to ensure the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund.

According to the office of Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.),  that makes 176 members of Congress who have pledged their support to the efforts of Graves, chairman of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee, and ranking member Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.). They are pressing counterparts on the Ways and Means tax panel to address the trust fund’s looming shortfall. The tax committee is expected to take up reforming tax policy in a few weeks.

As part of Infrastructure Week, executives from the construction and road builders sector visited lawmakers on Capitol Hill to ask for their support for a long-term fix to the highway account.

“We need to turn up the heat on Congress and the administration,” David Zachry, chairman of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, said in a statement this week.

Graves is aiming to have many more colleagues sign on to his letter, aides told Transport Topics.

In a recent interview, Graves explained: "The best thing we can do for this country's freight network is inject long-term solvency to the Highway Trust Fund. After the highway bill expires in 2020, there is no certainty, no guaranteed funding, and no continuity — and that negatively affects long-term investment in our infrastructure.”

The trust fund, used by the U.S. Department of Transportation to help states pay for infrastructure projects, is projected to run low on funds in about three years.