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house Bill H.R. 2353

Should Congress Give the Highway Trust Fund Its 33rd Quick Patch?

Argument in favor

Short-term fixes are never ideal, but this one is necessary to keep America’s roads, highways and bridges from falling apart. This bill will give Congress a chance to work out the kinks currently preventing a longer-term funding agreement.

terry1552's Opinion
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05/19/2015
Please America our infrastructure is falling apart.We need repairs and jobs to repair,replace and upgrade America.We have done it before and we need to again ASAP please. Terry, OKC,OK
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Josh's Opinion
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06/07/2015
Interstate commerce is important enough to be a priority for the federal government. Keeping our roads effective and maintained is one of the better things our government can do.
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05/19/2015
I can attest to the poor state of roads in the U.S- I live in Jackson, MS for Pete's sake!
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Argument opposed

It’s unconscionable that Congress has failed for more than a decade to provide long-term funding for America’s infrastructure. No more patches: fix the funding problem once and for all.

ThomasParker's Opinion
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06/07/2015
It's past time to end the inefficient methods of funding critical infrastructure via the federal monopoly machine. Reliance on government to solve problems is the reason they haven't been solved; it's time to allow another manager to get things done: the free enterprise system.
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Curmudgeon's Opinion
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07/27/2015
Where did the TARP remainder disappear and what of the "shovel ready" infrastructure jobs? No more money until the pilferage is accounted for and the culpable in the government are rooted out and brought to justice.
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Zachary's Opinion
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05/21/2015
American infrastructure is laughable at best, criminally irresponsible at worst, and pathetic in general.
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What is House Bill H.R. 2353?

This bill would extend federal aid for highway safety, motor carrier safety, transit and other programs funded by the Highway Trust Fund through July 31st, 2015.

A 10-month extension to the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) that cost $11 billion expired on May 31st of that year. If the HTF does not receive an extension past May, the Transportation Department will be forced to cut state reimbursements for infrastructure projects.

The HTF, which was created in 1956 to finance the Interstate Highway System, funds a Highway Account for road construction, a Mass Transit Account for urban transit systems, and a Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund.

The federal gasoline tax is the major source of funding for the HTF, but that tax has remained at 18.4 cents per gallon since 1993. To keep the HTF solvent without raising the gasoline tax, it has received periodic infusions from the general Treasury fund. Because Americans drive less and in cars that are increasingly fuel efficient, the HTF’s revenues have experienced a steady decline.

“We’ll have something that gets us through the construction season,” said Sponsoring Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. 

Impact

Anyone who drives on federally funded highways, roads, and mass transit systems.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2353

At this time the CBO does not have an estimated cost for this bill. But the projected outlays for the HTF in 2015 are approximately $44 billion. According to the CBO, the anticipated revenues for the HTF during 2015 won’t cover its various obligations.

More Information

In-Depth:

According to sponsoring Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis), the Highway Trust Fund still has enough funding to meet its various obligations through the end of July 2015. In a statement, Shuster and Ryan noted that an agreement to secure additional funding through the end of the year will require bipartisan cooperation:

“This legislation will allow transportation spending to continue through July, while we work towards a next step to close the Trust Fund’s shortfall. Doing so will require our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to be constructive in working towards a solution. Only then will we be able to produce a plan that gives states the certainty they need to build the roads, bridges, and other infrastructure our communities and economy need to thrive."

In March, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) proposed legislation to nearly double the gas tax, which would produce enough funding for Congress to pass a bill covering the next six years. While many Republicans oppose a gas-tax hike, the AAA, American Trucking Association, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce wrote a joint-statement in support of additional funding for transportation and infrastructure.

Blumenauer isn’t the only politician offering an alternative magic bullet. President Obama is also working on a six-year plan that would introduce $478 billion for infrastructure funding during 2016. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) have proposed a tax holiday for companies, which would boost revenue for the HTF. Other ideas floated in the House and the Senate have included infrastructure bond sales, revenue from drilling on federal lands, and mileage-based user-fee system.

And still others believe the best solution is to let the HTF wind itself down. The Heritage Foundation has recommended having the states pay for infrastructure projects, pointing out that this already seems to be the prevailing trend.

Media:

Summary by Eli Wolfe

(Photo Credit: Flickr user zeitfaenger.at)

AKA

Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2015

Official Title

To provide an extension of Federal-aid highway, highway safety, motor carrier safety, transit, and other programs funded out of the Highway Trust Fund, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • EnactedMay 29th, 2015
    The President signed this bill into law
  • The senate Passed May 23rd, 2015
    Passed by Voice Vote
  • The house Passed May 19th, 2015
    Roll Call Vote 387 Yea / 35 Nay
      house Committees
      Highways and Transit
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
      Committee on Natural Resources
      Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
      Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
      Committee on Ways and Means
    IntroducedMay 15th, 2015

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    It's past time to end the inefficient methods of funding critical infrastructure via the federal monopoly machine. Reliance on government to solve problems is the reason they haven't been solved; it's time to allow another manager to get things done: the free enterprise system.
    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
    Please America our infrastructure is falling apart.We need repairs and jobs to repair,replace and upgrade America.We have done it before and we need to again ASAP please. Terry, OKC,OK
    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
    Interstate commerce is important enough to be a priority for the federal government. Keeping our roads effective and maintained is one of the better things our government can do.
    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
    American infrastructure is laughable at best, criminally irresponsible at worst, and pathetic in general.
    Like (1)
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    Share
    #NO more punting. #FIX shovel-ready roads/bridges #NOW. Highway Trust Fund has nothing to do with #ACA -- get over it & #gettowork.
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    I say repeal NAFTA and tariff all imports to pay for infrastructure upgrades. At the same time include a luxury tax on all high end cars, boats and private jets of no less than 15% of their value every year to pay for infrastructure projects.
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    Congress should do their job not make little patches along the way
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    Quit the patches. Just fix them. Please
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    Where did the TARP remainder disappear and what of the "shovel ready" infrastructure jobs? No more money until the pilferage is accounted for and the culpable in the government are rooted out and brought to justice.
    Like (1)
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    We have given them money many times and they use it for others things. Cut the pork and get rid of lobbyists. Bring our dollar back to America instead of paying countries to like us. The America government is wasteful and irresponsible with the people's money and the people's house. They have chosen specials interest over the people's will and safety. We need to balance our checkbook and so do you
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    I can attest to the poor state of roads in the U.S- I live in Jackson, MS for Pete's sake!
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    Stop Spending! We are 18 TRILLION in debt!!!
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    Need a real deal
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    Needs along term fix now
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    I think it is INSANE that we are still "patching" a transportation system in dire need of investment. Nonetheless, we can't do nothing while an ineffective Congress dithers. Vote yes.
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    Congress loves patch work. It doesn't care about America's infrastructure since it doesn't have to drive over that rotted bridge. Why bother with this?
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    Invest in our infrastructure! America is famed for our advanced highways! Now we need to set the gold standard on transportation!
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    Fix the problem!
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    I thought this was one of Obama's big bailout promises. What do people see in his autocratic policies, anyway?
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    Stop foreign aid spend the money on roads
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