Bill would restore highway funding, reduce mass transit share

By David Tanner, Land Line senior editor | Monday, March 23, 2015

A bill in Congress would restore highway funding to productive levels in part by reducing the share that goes to pay for mass transit and other non-highway uses.

The bill is HR1461, the Developing Roadway Infrastructure for a Vibrant Economy Act, or DRIVE Act, filed by U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky, on Friday, March 19.

Congress is facing a deadline of May 31 to pass at least a temporary funding bill to extend the life of the Highway Trust Fund. The trust fund is where fuel taxes and other transportation user fees are collected and doled out to pay for federal and state transportation programs.

Massie points out that fuel taxes were established to pay for federal highways and bridges, but over time have been used to fund mass transit and other non-highway projects.

“Currently, gas tax revenue is diverted from the federal Highway Trust Fund for bike paths, sidewalks, mass transit, and other local projects,” Massie stated in a news release.

“But due to inflation and fuel efficiency improvements of today’s vehicles, there is no longer enough money in the Highway Trust Fund to maintain our nation’s critical highways and bridges while also funding local projects that have no federal nexus. By eliminating diversion of gas tax revenues, the DRIVE Act ensures that the Highway Trust Fund can fulfill its namesake duty – to fund highways, without an increase in the gas tax rate.”

HR1461 has been referred to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee as well as the Ways and Means Committee.

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