The nation's largest highway advocacy group, the American Highway Users Alliance, praised Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus for leading the June 25 introduction of the Maximum Economic Growth for America through The Highway Trust Fund (MEGA Trust Act), to restore fuel tax equity and maximize the funding available for road and bridge investments.
"Senator Baucus' legislation will maximize the amount of funding available to improve highway safety without raising fuel taxes on motorists and truckers," said William D. Fay, president and CEO of The Highway Users. Addressing the bill's provisions to reimburse the Highway Trust Fund for ethanol subsidies and direct all ethanol taxes to highway investments, Fay added "Ethanol is a politically volatile issue. Its use costs the Highway Trust Fund $1 billion a year today, an amount that could grow under some ethanol expansion scenarios to $3 billion by the year 2012. But Senator Baucus has found a way to alleviate the loss in funding so vital to our nation's highway infrastructure while keeping the ethanol subsidies in place."
According to The Highway Users, the MEGA Trust Act makes needed corrections in the way federal revenues are credited to the Highway Trust Fund. Nothing in the bill increases any tax. If enacted, the bill will: 1) fully credit all taxes paid on gasohol to the Highway Trust Fund (currently, 2.5Â¢ goes into the US Treasury's General Fund); and 2) shift the cost of our national policy to develop and promote the use of gasohol from motorists and truckers to general taxpayers. These two provisions alone would increase Highway Account revenues by at least $2.1 billion annually (more when ethanol usage expands), according to The Highway Users.
In addition, The Highway Users claim the bill would: 1) restore interest collected on surpluses in both the Highway and the Mass Transit Accounts; 2) extend the basic highway user taxes, so that they do not expire; and 3) establish a commission to review future financing of federal highway and transit programs.
The bipartisan list of cosponsors, in addition to Baucus and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, include US Senators Christopher "Kit" Bond (R-MO), Jean Carnahan (D-MO), Larry Craig (R-ID), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Bob Graham (D-FL), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Harry Reid (D-NV), and John Warner (R-VA).
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. For more information log onto www.highways.org