Chamber supports Ensuring Increased Use of Ethanol Does Not Hurt Highway Investment In Energy Bill

Wednesday, October 29, 2003 - 7:00pm


October 30, 2003

The Honorable George W. Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Bush:

The Congress is now working to resolve its final differences on comprehensive energy legislation which presents an opportunity to address ethanol user fee rates and revenues and their impact on the Highway Trust Fund. We urge you to encourage Congress to enact the approach proposed by the Senate Finance Committee and supporters of H.R. 3119 that would boost job-creating highway capital investment spending while promoting the production and use of ethanol.

Currently, two and one-half (2.5) cents per gallon of federal ethanol user fees collected is deposited into the General Fund rather than the Highway Trust Fund. Further, gasohol is currently taxed at an average of 5.2 cents less than gasoline. The Senate Finance Committee estimates that over the next six years, the changes they propose would mean an additional $14.5 billion to invest in surface transportation and would result in more than 600,000 additional good paying jobs.

The Senate Finance Committee's proposal would redirect the 2.5 cents now going into the General Fund back to the Highway Trust Fund and would close the 5.2-cent differential between collected gasohol and gasoline user fees while protecting ethanol producers with a tax credit for ethanol production.

We respectively urge you to encourage the House and Senate leadership and conferees on the energy legislation to adopt the proposed approach to remedy the foregone revenues from the Highway Trust Fund resulting from the current user fee tax treatment for ethanol.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely yours,

Thomas Donohue
President and Chief Executive Officer
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

John R. Njord
American Association of State Highway
and Transportation Officials

Stephen E. Sandherr
Chief Executive Officer
Associated General Contractors of America

Pete Ruane
President and Chief Executive Officer
American Road and Transportation
Builders Association