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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Senators call on colleagues to address potential Highway Trust Fund shortfall


U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) are calling on Congress to pass legislation that would ensure the long-term solvency of the national Highway Trust Fund (HTF).

In a letter sent late last week to their Senate colleagues, Boxer, Johnson and Rockefeller highlighted the need to pass legislation to protect 3 million transportation-related jobs, "which are at risk due to severe funding shortfalls" that are projected to occur after the current federal transportation funding legislation known as MAP-21 expires in September 2014, according to a press release issued by Boxer's office.

MAP-21 ensures the solvency of the HTF only until the law expires, the senators' letter stated.

"If the pending HTF shortfall were to be addressed solely by cutting spending, obligations in 2015 from the Highway Account of the HTF and from the Mass Transit account would need to be cut by 100 percent," they wrote. "This would jeopardize almost 3 million jobs nationwide, including jobs supported by the enhanced Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program."

With the letter, the senators released a state-by-state list of the funding and jobs that could be lost if the law expires without congressional action.

"The impacts of these cuts to your state would be extremely harmful — to the economy, to jobs and to the safety and mobility of travelers," the senators wrote. "A strong transportation system is vital to ensuring the economic competitiveness of the United States, and this requires maintaining federal investments in our transportation infrastructure."

Boxer chairs the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works; Johnson, the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; and Rockefeller, the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/29/2013