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June 27
​Congress Moves Forward with Temporary Trust Fund Fix

On June 24, the Senate unveiled and advanced a short-term fix to keep the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) solvent through the end of this calendar year. As NACo reported last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation is expecting HTF shortfalls as early as August. Although momentum is gaining for a bipartisan proposal to address the HTF’s long-term solvency by increasing and indexing the federal gasoline and diesel taxes, the consensus in Congress is that major trust fund reform will not occur in time to avoid the predicted shortfalls this summer.

To avoid a major transportation funding crisis, the Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) released his plan to raise $9 billion to temporarily extend the HTF. Sen. Wyden’s initial version of the Preserving American’s Transit and Highways (PATH) Act,  would raise the revenue needed to pay for this extension through a number of sources, which included a modification to the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax that would increase the tax cap for heavy vehicles (vehicles over 97,000 pounds of gross vehicle weight) while not altering current truck weight limits and a provision that would require retirement savings accounts be distributed within five years of the death of the account holder.

On June 26, the Senate Finance Committee convened to mark up the proposal, which introduced modifications aimed at rousing bipartisan consensus. Among the changes introduced during the markup was the elimination of the higher tax cap for heavier commercial trucks. Since the markup revealed the need for additional tweaks, the committee agreed to reconvene the markup when they return from the July 4 recess.

In addition to the activity in the Senate, House Ways and Means Committee Chair Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) announced his plans to mark up a trust fund fix (that has yet to be released) during the week of July 7. The Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee Sen. Orrin Hatch (R- Utah) reached out to Rep. Camp prior to the Thursday markup to determine a bipartisan and bicameral path forward for an extension of the HTF.

NACo acknowledges the need for an immediate fix to address the HTF’s looming insolvency. However, counties are encouraged to tell Congress that a long-term vision and funding certainty – not a short-term patch – is best for our country’s transportation infrastructure.

NACo’s priorities for MAP-21 Reauthorization
NACo Policy Brief on transportation
NACo’s report: The Road Ahead: County Transportation Funding and Financing

Contact: Jessica Monahan at jmonahan@naco.org or at 202.942.4217

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