US: Republicans want a $10 billion hike for the highway fund image

The US Highway Trust Fund – the main source of money for roads, bridges and transportation projects – would get a $10 billion boost if a proposal made by House Republicans would be accepted by the Congress.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican, plans the new cash infusion – with the additional sum coming from several directions, including delayed employee contributions to pension funds or raising additional fees.

The only problem for the much-debated fund is that Congress has been divided on how to act on increasing its funds – as in recent years the trust has not been able to cope with the rising costs of transportation projects and road and bridge maintenance.

“We know that we have to do something on the highway bill before we leave here for the August recess,” a Democrat Congress lawmaker said.

According to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, the Highway Trust is near its funds end, as the payments towards states would be slowed down starting with August, with the money projected to become insufficient by the same month’s end. Also, the agreement and authority that sends the 18.4 cents-per-gallon gas tax towards the $50 billion a year fund for highway, bridge and mass transit projects is set to expire by September 30.

There is also another plan developed by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, who said his strategy would seek the acceptance of both parties to speed the process and secure the funds for the trust for several years to come.

Via Bloomberg