A globally competitive national economy depends on an efficient, modern and integrated transportation network. The Highway Trust Fund (HTF) helped build the interstate highway system and, until recently, has funded more than 90 percent of U.S. surface transportation infrastructure. It is funded primarily through federal gasoline and diesel excise taxes, which have neither been increased nor adjusted for inflation since 1993. As a result, the HTF has faced diminished purchasing power. In addition, the improved fuel economy of vehicles and even more stringent future requirements, the rise of electric and other alternative fuel vehicles, and a decline in miles driven have further eroded funding into the HTF. To keep the HTF solvent, Congress has authorized a series of transfers from the General Treasury since 2007, but these transfers have provided inadequate investments in our nation’s transportation infrastructure and have continued a cycle of uncertainty. Robust investments from a dedicated funding mechanism founded on a user-fee principle are necessary to meet current and future transportation demands, enhance global competitiveness, reduce congestion and ensure a first-rate infrastructure system that can efficiently move people and goods.
With passage of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, Congress reauthorized surface transportation programs through 2020 and provided an investment of $305 billion that will help pay for the construction of road, bridge, highways and mass transit projects. A medley of non-transportation offsets in addition to incoming HTF revenues will fund the investments, but because Congress did not address the impending insolvency of the HTF, transportation construction programs will again face significant challenges in 2020 and beyond.
Industry Position: A globally competitive economy depends on an effective and efficient transportation infrastructure as it directly impacts the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector and creates significant demand for steel fabricated products. Accordingly, the Congress should ensure a sustainable, long-term financing mechanism based on user fees for federal transportation infrastructure investment. More »
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Continuously reinforced concrete roadways are structurally supported by steel rebars and help to improve fuel efficiency in large vehicles.