Photo: Evan Lockridge
UPDATED -- The American Trucking Associations is calling on the Obama administration to focus on what it says are “the real challenges, and real solutions, to the nation’s infrastructure funding woes.”
“We expect that in the coming days Secretary Foxx and the Obama administration will present their transportation reauthorization plan to Congress,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. “While this proposal will be lauded as a great step forward for transportation, that will only be true if the administration offers long-term solutions to our highway and bridge infrastructure shortcomings and not yet another in a series of quick fixes.”
ATA said it repeatedly called on Congress and the administration to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent by using user fees, such a fuel taxes, to ensure consistent, long-term federal funding.
The words comes as the Obama administration is expected to soon announce details of its plan to fund the nation’s surface transportation program for the next several years, including increasing the amount of money in the Highway Trust Fund, which is expected to become insolvent in late August or early September.
(Editor's note: Since ATA's remarks, DOT Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has announced the administration is sending its funding proposal to Congress. You can veiw the story by clicking here.)
The most likely scenario that is expected is a one-time cash infusion into the Highway Trust Fund that would be included in a four-year, $302 billion dollar surface transportation authorization. About half of the money, $150 billion, would come from corporate tax reform, and $63 billion would go to plugging the hole in the Trust Fund.
“If reports are correct that the administration’s plan will center on proceeds from the unlikely passage of corporate tax reform and increased use of inefficient tolling and private finance options, then this proposal will be a tremendous missed opportunity,” Graves said. “A strong, well-funded federal highway program is critical to our nation’s economic success and another round of Band-Aids and hollow promises won’t get it done.”
ATA hopes the administration’s plan will focus what resources it does have on the right projects for the supply chain and the nation.
“It is critical that the administration’s funding blueprint puts resources where they can do the most good,” said ATA Chairman Phil Byrd, president of Bulldog Hiway Express, Charleston, S.C. “The administration should carve out a program to fund the needs of freight transportation that focuses on the mode that moves the most goods: trucks. This administration needs to make much needed investments in repairing our existing roads and bridges and looking for ways to add capacity to meet our growing needs.”
Update adds link to Obama Administration highway funding proposal unveiled since this story was posted.