Graves leads bipartisan call for permanent Highway Trust Fund fix

U.S. Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) led a bipartisan group of 250 legislators in calling on leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee to find a long-term solution to Highway Trust Fund issues.

Congress has had to rely on general fund transfers and offsets from non-surface transportation projects since 2008 to maintain the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), which is funded by federal fuel and excise taxes.

“The president has made rebuilding our transportation network a priority, and rightfully so,” Graves, the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, said. “But, instead of thinking a one-time, trillion-dollar investment would solve our long-term infrastructure problems, my focus is on making sure we’re being responsible in how we plan for and fund projects in the future.”

The House Ways and Means Committee has jurisdiction over the HTF, and Graves said bringing long-term certainty to it is the best thing that Congress can do for the country’s transportation infrastructure.

“What we need is a modern, sustainable system that keeps revenues flowing so states are able to invest in projects as they come up, not once it’s too late,” Graves said.

Graves and U.S. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), the ranking member of the subcommittee, led the letter on Monday to U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Richard Neal (D-MA), ranking member of the committee.

“A safe, modern, and efficient transportation network is critical to the economic success of this country,” the letter states. “It allows businesses to move their products across the country while facilitating access to domestic markets and suppliers, which makes it more cost-effective for companies to manufacture goods in the United States. Simply put, if states are unable to rely on timely reimbursements from the HTF for work performed, projects will be halted, improvements to road safety and congestion relief will be jeopardized, and America’s infrastructure will fall further behind the rest of the world. This would put our businesses — and the American worker — at a significant disadvantage in the competitive global economy.”

HTF revenue enhancements have been included in broader tax reduction packages over the last three decades, the letter continues. “Any HTF solution should entail a long-term, dedicated, user-based revenue stream that can support the transportation infrastructure investment supported by President Trump and members of Congress from both parties.”