ASA Participates in the Transportation Construction Coalition’s Virtual Fly-In
On Thursday, May 20, 2021, ASA participated in the Transportation Construction Coalition’s Virtual Fly-In, which included U.S. Transportation Secretary Buttigieg, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WVA), Ranking Member, Committee on Environment and Public Works, Sen. Carper (D-DE), Chairman, Committee on Environment Public Works, and Reps. Lamb (D-PA) and Katko (R-NY), Co-Chairs, House Problem Solvers Caucus Infrastructure Working Group. The Fly-In’s purpose was to highlight the importance of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), established by Congress and President Eisenhower to fund the construction of U.S. Interstate Highway System, which has provided federal investment to build and improve our nation’s surface transportation network for nearly seven decades. This user-pay system has derived funding for maintaining our infrastructure primarily through federal motor fuels taxes since its inception. Unfortunately, Congress has not increased or adjusted the federal motor fuels tax to inflation since 1993. As a result, existing HTF revenue levels are now unable to support current levels of highway and public transportation investment. The HTF has suffered seven separate revenue shortfalls since 2008, and Congress has had to transfer more than $150 billion from the General Fund of the U.S. Treasury and other sources to ensure that the HTF is on solid footing. These revenue shortfalls have created substantial uncertainty about future funds and led multiple states to delay planned transportation improvement projects.
Declining revenues due to Congress’ inaction to adjust or create new revenue sources for the HTF, its cash flow crisis will continue to be exacerbated over the coming years. Improved vehicle fuel efficiency and the growing number of alternative fuel vehicles are further reducing revenues. In addition, more and more states are committed to requiring that all new cars and passenger trucks be zero emission vehicles in the future. The Biden Administration proposed a $174 billion investment in electric vehicles and building a national network of 500,000 EV chargers by 2030. As the share of electric vehicles continues to grow in the nation’s overall fleet, we can continue to expect a negative impact on revenues from motor fuel taxes, meaning less dedicated funding for our nation’s transportation infrastructure.
We requested action on the magnitude of the looming HTF crisis and the impact of the resulting uncertainty on state transportation improvement plans reinforces the need for proactive congressional action. We urged all members of Congress to include a permanent HTF solution as part of any infrastructure or surface transportation reauthorization bill acted on this year. Any HTF fix should have a permanent, dedicated, user-based HTF revenue stream to support the increased transportation investments advocated for by President Biden and members of Congress from both parties.