Washington, DC—The following is a statement from Michele Nellenbach, director of BPC’s infrastructure project, on the inclusion of a one-year extension of federal surface transportation programs in the just-passed continuing resolution:
“We were pleased to see lawmakers come together on a bipartisan basis to ensure the federal government remains open while it works on a longer-term funding deal after the election. Importantly, the continuing resolution passed yesterday includes a much-needed extension of federal surface transportation programs through September 30, 2021, a measure sorely needed for state and local governments to adequately plan and deliver critical infrastructure projects during this economically challenging time. However, Congress also included a transfer of $13 billion from general revenues to address a gap in funding because the taxes and fees that support the Highway Trust Fund have not kept pace with inflation or the changing nature of our transportation sector. While we appreciate Congress ensuring our transportation infrastructure needs will continue to be met over the next year, deficit spending is not a long-term solution to chronic Highway Trust Fund shortfalls. This move comes after the Congressional Budget Office projected that federal debt will rise in coming years to the highest amount in the nation’s history, slowing the growth of the economy and national income.
“As we noted in A Roadmap for the Last Gas Tax Increase, an increase in the gas tax now could provide sufficient funding to the trust fund over the next 10 years, buying Congress time to identify and transition to a more sustainable and lasting funding source. We urge Congress to use this one-year extension to forge a bipartisan coalition to address the gas tax and put in place a solution to ensure the long-term solvency of the trust fund.”