Hoping for Congressional action before the end of the year, a group of nearly forty industry associations have come together to ask the Senate leadership to move on a new transportation infrastructure bill.
“History has demonstrated that delaying action on such measures until their deadline leads to two outcomes: short-term extensions; and the disruption of state highway improvement plans,” the groups have written in a joint letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The groups, which include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, along with the American Society of Civil Engineers, says it sees such legislation as essential to the country’s well-being.
“It would provide historic investment levels, deliver beneficial projects faster by cutting red tape, tap private sector capital and innovations, prioritize safety, and improve the quality of life for rural and urban communities,” the letter continued.
In July, members of the Environment and Public Works Committee gave their approval to a bill that would establish a 5-year time frame designed to fund any number of road and bridge infrastructure projects nationally.
But a significant hurdle to the legislation’s ultimate passage has always been the question of funding in the form of raising the federal fuel tax.
The authors of the McConnell letter have come out in favor of raising the current 24 cents per gallon diesel tax and the 18 cents per gallon gas tax. That tax has not been increased since 1993.
Last month, in an interview with CNBC, McConnell, while not commenting specifically on the fuel tax question, nonetheless predicted: “We’re going to do a transportation bill, maybe later this year.”
By Garry Boulard
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