Washington, D.C. – Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), and Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), member of the Finance Committee and Chairman of the EPW Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure, issued the following statement opposing the House Ways and Means Committee’s plan to pass a temporary patch for the Highway Trust Fund until May 2015, undermining the effort to pass a long-term transportation reauthorization bill this year. A patch through December would allow consideration of a long-term bill this Congress.
Senator Boxer said: “The House’s plan to kick the can down the road and pass a temporary patch for the Highway Trust Fund until next May derails the effort to pass a long-term transportation bill this year. This ill-conceived proposal would prolong uncertainty for business, local governments and the states and would create another financial crisis right before the next construction season. Passing a long-term transportation bill this year would provide a real boost for our economic recovery. The American people have a right to expect no less.”
Senator Carper said: “The House Republicans’ proposal to put off a long-term fix to the Highway Trust Fund crisis until next spring is a flawed strategy that will further undermine the ability of states and cities to invest in transformative, large-scale transportation projects, hinder private sector job creation, and will likely continue a harmful cycle of short-term extensions indefinitely. We know all that we need to know about the options for fixing the Highway Trust Fund and fulfilling our promise to states to be a partner in infrastructure investment. We’ve already been contemplating this problem for more than five years. Giving Congress another year will not reveal any new solutions, it’s only stalling and dodging the hard decisions that voters sent us to Congress to make. In the Finance Committee, Chairman Wyden and Ranking Member Hatch have been working hard on a bipartisan approach to fund our transportation system through the immediate need in this summer construction season and I urge them to finish that process to set the table for a meaningful long-term funding solution later this fall. The time to act is in 2014 and any proposal that fails to do that should be a nonstarter.”