Letter Supporting H.R. 6532, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to restore the Highway Trust Fund balance
July 22, 2008
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, strongly urges you to support H.R. 6532, which would address the looming shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund by transferring $8 billion from the General Fund to the Highway Trust Fund.
In February, the Bush administration forecasted that revenues for the Highway Account would fall short of meeting commitments made under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient, and Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) by $3.3 billion during fiscal year 2009. Because of the way the Highway Trust Fund pays out, the revenue shortfall could lead to more than a 30% reduction in federal highway funds across all states in fiscal year 2009.
Since that forecast was made, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reported that estimated miles traveled on U.S. public roads dropped 11 billion miles between March 2007 and March 2008, the first year-to-year reduction since 1979. As Americans drive fewer miles and purchase less fuel, the Highway Trust Fund's shortfall will continue to worsen. The latest Treasury Department revenue estimates of monthly receipts show a further erosion of $2 billion from original projections.
The nation's highway system has significant capital, operating, and maintenance needs, and state departments of transportation and metropolitan planning organizations have developed long term transportation investment plans based on anticipated guaranteed funding levels provided by SAFETEA-LU. A reduction in guaranteed spending in 2009 would disrupt projects already underway and further delay necessary maintenance, upgrades, and expansion of our nation's infrastructure.
The Chamber urges Congress to pass H.R. 6532 and take immediate steps to address the shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund. The Chamber may consider using votes on, or in relation to, H.R. 6532 in our annual How They Voted scorecard.
R. Bruce Josten