Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI), urged House Republican leadership to immediately pass a Highway and Transit Trust Fund bill to pay for critical infrastructure construction projects before the current short-term extension expires at the end of the month.
The Highway Trust Fund collects and distributes money for federal highway and transit projects. The current authorization for the federal surface transportation act expires on May 31, and there are only seven legislative days remaining before the deadline is reached.
“Michigan, of all states, knows that we need to fix our crumbling roads and bridges if we are going to remain competitive as a nation,” Kildee said Tuesday. “Potholes in roads desperately need to be filled and crumbling bridges need to be repaired. Yet Congress has so far failed to commit the necessary funds to improve our nation’s infrastructure. By failing to invest in our roads and bridges, we hurt our country’s competitiveness and quality of life. Failing to invest in our infrastructure also threatens good-paying jobs and construction projects across the country.”
According to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, 660,000 construction jobs are hanging in the balance if Congress does not act. Additionally, 6,000 critical construction projects across the country could be delayed or stopped if no solution is reached. In 2013, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) published a report card giving America’s infrastructure a failing grade.
“Time is running out for Congress to act. I call on Speaker (John) Boehner to immediately bring up a bill in the House to fund the Highway Trust Fund and improve our nation’s infrastructure,” Kildee said.
Several fixes have been suggested to replenish the Highway Trust Fund including raising the gas tax and indexing it into inflation, taxing multinational companies’ overseas earnings, and downsizing the federal role in transportation. With the fast-approaching deadline, many transportation industry groups are concerned Congress will transfer monies from the general fund to the Highway Trust Fund as it has for the past several years.