The next president of the United States must press ahead with a plan that ensures the long-term sustainability of the Highway Trust Fund, nearly three dozen transportation groups wrote to the nominees of the two major parties last week.
“We believe that an infrastructure package needs to include, as a foundation, additional sustainable revenue to ensure the permanent solvency of the Highway Trust Fund,” the groups wrote. “The additional revenue sources must be long-term, reliable, dedicated and focused on the users and beneficiaries of our transportation network to support the increased investment provided under your infrastructure proposal.”
Funding uncertainty from the federal government for infrastructure projects has “had dramatic negative effects on the ability of state and local governments to plan, fund and construct transportation projects. As a consequence, the economy has missed an opportunity to increase good-paying jobs and has hampered America’s economic competitiveness,” the letter’s signatories added.
American Trucking Associations, the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce were among the groups backing the letter. Most of the them, such as ATA, have called on Congress to raise taxes on fuels to realize the trust fund’s long-term viability.
The trust fund, which helps states pay for infrastructure projects, relies on dwindling revenue from the federal tax on gas and diesel. A 2015 highway law used nontraditional sources of funding to keep the trust fund operable for five years.
Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump have promised to modernize the country’s transportation network. Clinton has proposed a five-year, $275 billion proposal to finance large-scale infrastructure and freight-connectivity projects. Trump said his proposal would be twice as large as Clinton’s plan.