Hours before the U.S. Department of Transportation was set to start cutting highway reimbursements to states, Congress passed a $10.8 billion, short-term Highway Trust Fund patch. President Obama signed the legislation into law on Friday, temporarily filling the Highway Trust Fund.
H.R. 5021, the Highway Trust Fund temporary patch, allows states to be reimbursed for projects until roughly May 2015, and it extends MAP-21 funding authorization and policies for highway, mass transit, and safety programs through May 31, 2015. No user fees were increased for this patch, instead Congress once again used a controversial budget technique called pension smoothing, as well as boosting customs fees, to pay for the general fund transfer.
In a letter sent this week to the state DOTs, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx wrote, “This is the 10th surface transportation extension — on top of 18 short-term budget measures — in the last 6 years. There is still no long-term certainty. Worse still, this latest band-aid expires right as the next construction season begins, setting up another crisis next spring. So in the coming months, the Department will again be required to prepare cash management procedures in anticipation of repeating the same Highway Trust Fund insolvency crisis.”
NAPA urges the asphalt pavement industry to share your interest in this issue with your friends, your family, your online communities, and your coworkers. Engage your members of Congress on long-term funding. Explain why we can’t wait until May and why upping our investment in transportation is so important. Let your members of Congress know that this is what their constituents want.
As NAPA works in Washington to press for a long-term bill, individual companies should be hosting plant tours and conducting district meetings with members of Congress back in their districts during this 5-week recess period. Visit www.asphaltpavement.org/govaffairs to see how to set up these meetings or contact Michele Stanley at firstname.lastname@example.org.