Weekly Legislative Update - November 18, 2019

Infrastructure Funding
On November 4, the TIA membership in its Annual Meeting unanimously passed a resolution strongly supporting President Trump's national infrastructure proposal so long as it is financed with fair and reasonable funding levels.
 
Currently there are two infrastructure proposals on Capitol Hill, with over 40 bills introduced on how to fund them.
 
Bills are being considered in the Senate and the House of Representatives to address the pending insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund. The Fund which provides the financing structure for the nation's roads, bridges, and transit projects, will run out of money by the end of 2020. The Highway Trust Fund finances about 25 percent of the nations spending. Because the Federal motor fuel tax has not been raised since 1993 and gasoline revenues may dwindle with a changing fleet makeup, lawmakers have struggled to achieve a consensus for long-term funding sources.
 
The bipartisan America's Transportation Infrastructure Act would direct the largest amount of money of funding for the nation's highways, bridges, and mass transit in history. HR 3904 would authorize $287 billion over 5 years. No taxes have been raised under this bill. The additional revenue would come from the General Fund.
 
The President has proposed a major infrastructure/jobs bill to the level of $1.5 trillion to $2.5 trillion with money raised from the highway community (by raising existing taxes, increased tolling, and large scale privatization of Federal highways). The President's sweeping infrastructure proposal includes (but is not limited to):
 
     Bridges
     Dams
     Airports
     Trains
     Mass Transit
     Sewage and drinking water pipes
     Transition and distribution power lines
     Power plants
     Electric grids
     Inland waterways
     Levees  
     Local and national parks
     Hospitals
     Schools
     Municipal solid waste systems
     Roads and bridges
 
Currently 32 percent of the urban roads and 14 percent of the rural roads are determined to be in poor condition.
 
Thus far, all funding proposals for the wide ranging infrastructure proposal focus on the highway users community. Only a small percentage of these new funds would go to highways.
 
President Trump supports both a reauthorization to the Highway Trust Fund as well as a new and unique massive infrastructure bill.
 
Returning to Washington from the GTE/SEMA Show, TIA representatives took the membership message to Capitol Hill. Last week we met with:
 
Members of Congress:
 
     Senator Tom Carper (D)
     Congressman Sam Graves (R-MO)
     Congressman Garret Graves (R-LA)
     Congressman Dan Lipinski (D-IL
     Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)
 
Federal, State, and Local Leaders:
 
     Brittney Kohler, Legislative Director, Transportation and Infrastructure, National League of Cities

     Jim Tymon, Executive Director, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials

     Helen Zyblikewcz, Staff Director, Highway and Transit Subcommittee, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

     Richard Russell, Staff Director, Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
 
Industry Leaders:
 
     Bruce Hamilton, Managing Director, Roadway Safety Foundation
     Jeff Davis Senior Fellow and Editor, Eno Transportation Weekly
     Dave Schwietert, Interim CEO and President, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers
     Laura Perrotta, President and CEO, American Highway Users Alliance
 
The Association is supporting the America Transportation Act as it is moving through Congress. We support the goals of the President's infrastructure proposal but we oppose raising all industry taxes, raising significantly the Federal motor fuel taxes, and privatizing the majority of the Federal highways.