Groups Oppose House GOP Rule That Hurts Transportation Investment

Transportation groups are urging House Republicans to reconsider their proposed rules package for the upcoming 112th Congress due to a provision they believe would hurt investment in transportation infrastructure. The current House rules ensure that all revenues paid by taxpayers into the Highway Trust Fund are used for highway and transit improvements on an annual basis. However, by requiring that transportation be a part of the annual appropriations process, there is no guarantee that all fuel tax revenues will be spent each year.

According to a letter sent last week to the House Leadership, before the current rule was adopted in 1998, “it was common for Congress to engage in a shell game by reducing Highway Trust Fund spending so that spending elsewhere could be increased.” As a result, trust fund balances soared while Congress deferred critical transportation investment.

Transportation advocates fear the proposed House rules package would sever the user-financed basis of the Highway Trust Fund. Transportation infrastructure construction projects take years to complete and depend on a stable predictable funding level. The letter said that the rules, if adopted, would add further uncertainty into the process.

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