WASHINGTON, D.C.— Congressman Tom Rice (R-SC-07) introduced the Highway Trust Fund Certainty Act, H.R. 2971.
The federal government shares the cost of highway and interstate projects with the states. Federal funding for these surface infrastructure projects comes from the Highway Trust Fund. To date, the fund is insolvent and will amass a $13 billion deficit this year alone if the revenue formula is not modernized. Enacting a long-term solution to fix the Highway Trust Fund has become a political issue lawmakers have refused to tackle since 1993. As such, Washington has patched the trust fund 33 times.
Rice’s legislation proposes a revenue-neutral raise of the federal motor fuel taxes by 10.1 cents per gallon. This rate increase would eliminate the fund’s deficit and index the new rate to inflation, ensuring the fund remains solvent in the future. To offset the rate increase, H.R. 2971 creates a new income tax credit putting more than $130 dollars back in the pockets of hard-working Americans. The effect of the bill will not raise revenue, but rather move money from the general fund into the Highway Trust Fund, creating a long-term stream of income for the fund.
“Our Highway Trust Fund isn’t funded and cannot be trusted,” said Rice. “The uncertainty this trust fund creates stifles investment from states and industry, and makes American businesses less competitive. After researching long-term solutions, I am proposing legislation to fix the Highway Trust Fund in the only way that makes sense, by adjusting the user fee. This will make certain that the fund is solvent and necessary investments in our infrastructure can be made. Like states across the nation, South Carolina’s roads are in poor shape and we cannot afford a 34th short-term patch.
“H.R. 2971 will fund much-needed new roads on our congested highway system and will ensure that the condition of our highways will improve, encouraging investment and creating good paying jobs. Additionally, improvements to the system will reduce accidents and improve safety,” concluded Rice.