Washington, D.C.– The Bipartisan Policy Center today announced that former Reps. Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Joe Crowley (D-NY) will lead a new Great American Rebuild Initiative to identify long-term mechanisms to finance the Highway Trust Fund. Their work will focus on developing potential long-term solutions to fully fund America’s critical infrastructure programs, up to and including ending the federal government’s reliance on the gas tax.
Under their leadership, the initiative will conduct a comprehensive review of potential revenue sources and develop recommendations to improve and sustainably fund trust fund programs. This effort aims to offer solutions that are practical, politically viable, and bipartisan.
Without new revenue sources, maintaining current spending levels will require an average bailout of general revenues of $20 billion per year. However, with increasing pressure on the federal budget—projections show federal deficits surpassing $1 trillion in 2019—forward movement on an infrastructure bill demands new, collective thinking on sustainable revenues.
“With the greater adoption of electric vehicles and more efficient gas-powered vehicles, the gas tax is increasingly untenable as a long-term funding source. Even if the gas tax were raised by 20 cents per gallon, as some interest groups suggested, Washington would still face a long-term funding crisis. Congress can no longer avoid a comprehensive examination of the federal role in funding our nation’s transportation infrastructure and the best means to meet those obligations,” said Shuster, the former chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
The launch of the Great American Rebuild Initiative comes ahead of the expiration of the FAST Act, which authorizes federal spending on roads, bridges, and other transportation infrastructure, on September 30, 2020. In addition, the Highway Trust Fund balance will approach zero in fiscal year 2021.
“There is bipartisan agreement that infrastructure needs to be addressed, but no consensus on how to pay for those essential upgrades. Now is the time to come together and forge a new path forward to ensure our infrastructure can meet the needs of our economy,” said Crowley, a former member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
BPC’s Infrastructure Work The Bipartisan Policy Center has played an integral role in infrastructure policy circles for over a decade with its leadership of several key infrastructure projects, including the Executive Council on Infrastructure and the National Transportation Policy Project.