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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Industry coalition asks Trump for long-term Highway Trust Fund fix

President Donald Trump
Photo – Trump's Twitter account


A coalition of transportation, construction and labor organizations has asked President Donald Trump to shore up the Highway Trust Fund with a long term, dedicated user-based revenue source as part of the administration's infrastructure investment plan.

In a Feb. 1 letter to Trump, the coalition agreed with the president's position that the nation's infrastructure is insufficient to support American competitiveness. Any "responsible proposal" should call for improvements to all types of infrastructure that help businesses reduce shipping, commuting, water and energy costs, the letter stated.

Organizations that signed the letter included the American Public Transportation Association, American Association of Port Authorities, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), American Council of Engineering Companies, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AFL-CIO.

At the same time, the administration and Congress must restore the Highway Trust Fund's solvency in order to adequately invest in federal highway and surface transportation programs that support the nation's infrastructure systems, the coalition said in the letter. The fund's long-run solvency has not been resolved by recent laws — such as the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act — that authorized those programs.

"Absent long-term stability for the Highway Trust Fund, many projects critical to the efficient movement of people and goods have the real potential to be backlogged or never built," the coalition wrote. "Further, mounting deferred maintenance could cause current infrastructure to fall into an even greater state of disrepair."

The group called on the Trump administration to not only include initiatives to reduce red tape and encourage private-sector investment in infrastructure, but also provides "real revenue" to the trust fund.

"Private financing, while important and needed, cannot replace the role of public funding and future leadership," the coalition wrote.

The letter was delivered to the administration and to members of Congress on the same day the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held its first hearing on the nation's infrastructure needs, according to an AASHTO Journal report.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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