On Tuesday, July 15, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014. H.R. 5021 passed the House by a 367 to 55 vote. Every House member from Michigan voted in favor of the bill, with the exception of Congressman Justin Amash – R, Grand Rapids, who represents the 3rd congressional district.
According to ARTBA, the goal behind the bill is to generate $10.9 billion for the Highway Trust Fund, as well as to preserve the current levels of highway and public transportation investment through May 2015. This bill would also extend the current law that authorizes highway and public transportation programs for the same amount of time.
ARTBA, along with its many colleagues, collaborated on a letter to all members of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate, urging them to “preserve investment in the short term and develop a long-term trust fund solution in 2014.” Congressman Dave Camp – R, Midland, MI, Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee and author of H.R. 5021, read the following passage from the letter on the House floor: “A long-term federal commitment to prioritize and invest in our aging infrastructure and safety needs is essential to achieve this goal. Keeping the Highway Trust Fund solvent is the first step.”
While this bill doesn’t quite address a long-term permanent solution to the demanding needs of the Highway Trust Fund, the effort is a good first step in maintaining it so that states can continue to invest their individual portions of the fund towards their bridges and roadways.
It is anticipated that the U.S. Senate will take up their proposal to temporarily stabilize the Highway Trust Fund next week.