As Congress delays Highway Trust Fund deadline, Ky. Congressmen detail what they expect in a bill

Painting the road with roller brush

After another delay of dealing with a long-term solution for the Highway Trust Fund, members of Kentucky’s federal delegation tell the Chamber what they expect to see in a bill and what changes should be considered moving forward to ensure the country has the funding it needs for infrastructure.

On Tuesday, the House passed a three-week extension to the Highway Trust Fund just two days ahead of the original October 29 deadline. The U.S. Senate is also expected to pass a short-term extension this week.

In July, the Senate passed a six-year bill dealing with the Highway Trust Fund which included funding for three of the years. The Kentucky Chamber and others have called on Congress to pass a long-term solution to the Highway Trust Fund.

The Kentucky Chamber’s Bottom Line recently visited Washington, D.C. to sit down with members of Kentucky’s federal delegation to discuss Congressional deadlines such as this one.

In an interview with the Kentucky Chamber last week, House Appropriations Chair Hal Rogers said he knew a bill was in the works from the House and gave Bottom Line an overview of what he expected to see in legislation to reauthorize the Highway Trust Fund. Hear his comments in the video below:

U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie of Bowling Green discussed the Senate’s bill with the Chamber and said he believes the House try to will find a way to make sure the last three years of the bill have the proper funding before the projects are authorized (listen to Guthrie’s comments at the beginning of the interview clip below).

“I think almost everybody agrees we need to spend more money on infrastructure and our bridges and roads and highways. And essentially, that is what the federal government should be doing,” Guthrie said. “The thing is, we are going to spend close to $4 trillion and we are struggling to build our roads, bridges and highways. So we have to re-prioritize how we spend money within our budget.”

Since 2001, spending from the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) has consistently and increasingly outpaced revenues. Since 2008, $65.3B has been transferred to the HTF by the federal government. Experts predict over the next ten years, that the HTF in its current state will experience a $169B shortfall and require $175B in additional transfers to remain solvent.

Funding for the road fund, which is meant to maintain and expand the country’s infrastructure, has not kept up due to many changes including the addition of more fuel efficient cars on the road bringing in less gas tax revenue at the pump and more.

Because of this issue, Guthrie told the Kentucky Chamber he believes there may have to be some changes in how the revenue is collected for the Highway Trust Fund moving forward.

Hear Guthrie’s full comments on the possibility of solutions being discussed including vehicle miles driven, international tax reform and more in the interview below:

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Jacqueline Pitts
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