Reauthorization under way

News U.S. House of Representatives March 17, 2003
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The bipartisan leadership of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee at a press conference on March 12 outlined several proposals it is considering that substantially increase the nation’s investment in highways and transit projects to $375 billion over the next six years.

"This proposal will have a positive impact on every community in all 50 states," said Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), the chairman of the committee.

"Significantly increasing investment in highways and transit will provide the resources necessary to improve our transportation systems and begin to loosen the grip that congestion has on our economy and on American families today," said Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.), the ranking Democrat on the committee.

Young said the committee leadership will consider specific measures to increase Highway Trust Fund revenues to achieve the $375 billion funding level. Some of these include:

• drawing down the existing balance in the Highway Trust Fund, which currently stands at about $18 billion;

• restoring the interest to the Highway Trust Fund, which would generate $12 billion to $14 billion;

• eliminating user fee evasion, which will add $3 billion to $4 billion;

• directing all revenues from existing gasohol user fees to the Highway Trust Fund, which would generate another $3 billion to $4 billion;

• reimbursing the Highway Trust Fund for lost revenues from the gasohol user fee subsidy or eliminate the subsidy, which would generate $7 billion to $8 billion; and

• restoring and preserving the purchasing power of the motor fuel user fee by linking the user fee to the Consumer Price Index. This will generate between $70 billion and $75 billion over the six-year period of the proposal.

The Associated General Contractors of America said the committee’s proposal "provides the needed funding to ensure that the nation’s economic backbone is strong and healthy, while not busting the budget."

"The bipartisan leadership of the committee has developed a bold and innovative initiative that, if enacted, will reduce congestion, improve safety, and enhance air quality," said Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO of the AGC.

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