Letter Supporting H.R. 6532, which would address the shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund by transferring $8 billion from the General Fund to the Highway Trust Fund
September 8, 2008
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE:
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 approve H.R. 6532, which would address the shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund by transferring $8 billion from the General Fund to the Highway Trust Fund, as soon as possible. Last Friday, Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters announced that the Highway Trust Fund will become insolvent in the next few weeks and urged the Senate to approve H.R. 6532.
If Congress does not move to address this shortfall expeditiously, Secretary Peters indicated that the federal government will reduce the frequency with which it makes reimbursements to states starting this week by making funds available on a pro-rated, weekly basis.
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. Any reduction or delay in guaranteed spending will disrupt projects already underway and further delay necessary maintenance, upgrades, and expansion of our nation's infrastructure.
Moreover, reducing investment in infrastructure is exactly the wrong strategy for dealing with a slowing economy. Each dollar invested in highway construction generates $1.80 of Gross Domestic Product in the short term, according to Standard & Poor's DRI. Every dollar taxpayers invest in public transportation generates about $6 in economic returns, reports Cambridge Systematics. According to the Department of Transportation, each $1.25 billion in highway capital investment supports 34,779 jobs.
The Chamber urges the Senate to approve H.R. 6532 as soon as possible.
R. Bruce Josten