AASHTO Journal, 24 January 2014
Democrats on the House Committee on Ways and Means last week urged Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) to begin holding hearings to address possible financing options for the Highway Trust Fund.
The letter, signed by all 16 minority members of the committee and led by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), reminds all committee members that the spending authority for the HTF expires on Sept. 30 (with the current surface transportation bill, MAP-21), though funding may run out even before then. The letter expresses concern regarding the consequences of an insufficient balance in the HTF to both transportation infrastructure and the economy as a whole.
“Our transportation programs will begin to notice the drop in funding this summer, when the Highway Trust Fund’s available cash on hand is likely to fall below $4 billion, which is the minimum amount necessary to maintain a sufficient balance to meet week-to-week obligations,” according to the letter. “Below this amount, reimbursements to states will be delayed, construction projects will be curtailed, and jobs will be lost through the economy.”
In order to address the problem ahead of its funding shortfall, Ways and Means Committee Democrats said the committee should follow its colleagues in addressing transportation infrastructure funding and financing now.
“We have fewer than nine months to find a funding solution for our infrastructure system. Thus, time is of the essence,” says the letter. “The [House] Transportation and Infrastructure Committee already has begun its hearings on reauthorization, and Chairman [Bill] Shuster [R-PA] has promised a bill on the House floor before August (see related AASHTO Journal story here). In light of the above, we respectfully request that you work with us to schedule hearings on transportation finance in the near future.”
No hearings on the matter have been scheduled at this time.
The signed letter is available here.