Share
July 19, 2016 11:00 AM, EDT

GOP Proposes Narrowing Highway Trust Fund’s Purview

Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg News

The Highway Trust Fund should stop backing mass transit, bike-sharing, recreational trails, and historical renovations, Republican leaders declared at the party’s national convention in Cleveland.

Instead, the federal transportation account should be dedicated for building and maintaining roadway infrastructure. In their position paper, Republicans also reaffirmed their opposition to raising taxes on fuel.

Taxes on gas and diesel have served as the primary source of revenue for the trust fund. Congress has not raised such taxes since 1993. Prior to the passage of the FAST Act, which provided the trust fund with a five-year boost, Congress had approved 36 short-term funding extensions since 2009 to keep the account afloat.

“More than a quarter of the fund’s spending is diverted from its original purpose,” the party wrote in its 2016 platform. “These worthwhile enterprises should be funded through other sources.”

To expedite infrastructure projects, Republicans proposed minimizing regulatory requirements in public-private partnerships, which are ventures between government entities and investors. Republicans noted these P3s could potentially alleviate taxpayers’ responsibility to pay for large-scale infrastructure projects.

“Recognizing that, over time, additional revenue will be needed to expand the carrying capacity of roads and bridges, we will remove legal roadblocks to public-private partnership agreements that can save the taxpayers money and bring outside investment to meet a community’s needs,” they wrote.

The party also proposed privatizing Amtrak service and ending federal support for a high-speed passenger rail project in California.