U.S. Representative Thomas Massie Introduces Bill to Secure National Road and Bridge Funding
"The DRIVE Act ensures that the Highway Trust Fund can fulfill its namesake duty – to fund highways, without an increase in the gas tax rate"
WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Congressman Thomas Massie introduced the DRIVE (Developing Roadway Infrastructure for a Vibrant Economy) Act of 2015 with Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH), Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI), Congressman Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), and Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO) as original co-sponsors. The DRIVE Act (H.R. 1461) would help keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent and improve our national infrastructure, without raising the gas tax, by refocusing the Highway Trust Fund on its original and proper role of building and maintaining federal highways and bridges.
“Currently, gas tax revenue is diverted from the federal Highway Trust Fund for bike paths, sidewalks, mass transit, and other local projects," said Congressman Massie. "But due to inflation and fuel efficiency improvements of today's vehicles, there is no longer enough money in the Highway Trust Fund to maintain our nation's critical highways and bridges while also funding local projects that have no federal nexus. By eliminating diversion of gas tax revenues, the DRIVE Act ensures that the Highway Trust Fund can fulfill its namesake duty – to fund highways, without an increase in the gas tax rate.”
Roadway infrastructure, such as the Interstate Highway System established in 1956, plays an important role in our economy and national security. In order to maintain our roadways, Americans pay an 18.4 cents-per-gallon fuel tax to fund the Highway Trust Fund, but this does not generate enough annual revenue for the obligations in MAP-21, the federal surface transportation bill that passed in 2012.
In July 2014, Congress transferred nearly $10 billion from the General Fund to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent. In an attempt to offset the unplanned expenditure from the General Fund, Congress reduced pension deposit requirements on companies, with the tenuous expectation that this would temporarily produce more corporate tax revenue. In May 2015, it is anticipated that Congress will be required to provide another stopgap funding measure to prevent insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund.
Annually, over $9 billion of the Highway Trust Fund goes to the Mass Transit Account, which provides funds for local public transportation projects, including subways, light rail, buses, and streetcars. Additional authorizations exist for sidewalks and bike paths to be funded from the Highway Trust Fund. The DRIVE Act repeals these authorizations and reduces Highway Trust Fund obligations by approximately $10 billion annually.