The American Highway Users Alliance on Sept. 19 urged Congress to “keep the trust” in the Highway Trust Fund and to maximize the return on the taxpayers’ investments. Testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation & Infrastructure Highways and Transit Subcommittee, President and CEO William D. Fay said that the motorists and truckers who pay user fees into the Trust Fund should benefit from them. He also discouraged Congress from spending Trust Fund dollars on non-transportation programs. “I urge you to consider more than whether or not the program or project…is a ‘good’ one,” Fay said. “It must also be an appropriate use of the user fee that motorists pay and should help reduce the deplorable death toll on our roads or improve the traffic congestion gripping every U.S. urban area.” Fay also listed several actions that Congress should consider during the reauthorization of the federal highway bill:· Maximize the return on the user fees collected by approving the MEGA Trust Bill and clamping down on fuel tax evasion.
Include strong streamlining provisions in the reauthorization bill.
Provide significant funds for research on roadway safety and target special funding for safety improvements.
Broaden the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program to include capacity expansion and bottleneck removal programs.
Shift more funding from fixed rail programs in the transit account to commuter bus, paratransit and bus rapid transit projects, as well as increase the General Fund’s share of public transit funding.
Support quality growth, not extreme slow growth, and recognize that new and improved highways can serve as a backbone for planned growth.
Create a bottleneck removal program; Preserve state flexibility in obligation authority.
Take action now to avert the impending truck transportation crisis by providing priority funding for truck-only lanes and other projects to keep freight moving.“By dedicating the next surface transportation bill to making highways safer and more efficient, Congress will reaffirm its commitment to supporting our Constitutional right of ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,’ preserving freedom of movement, and sustaining our quality of life,” Fay said.The American Highway Users Alliance represents motorists, truckers, and a broad cross-section of businesses that depend on safe and efficient highways to transport their families, customers, employees, and products. Highway Users members pay the bulk of the taxes that finance the federal highway program and advocate public policies that dedicate those taxes to improved highway safety and mobility.