Congressman or Senator
Dear [Congressman or Senator],
Please work with your colleagues in Congress to ensure that the federal government continues investing in our infrastructure. Before the current transportation authorization law, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), expires and money runs out on May 31, 2015, Congress needs to identify sustainable, predictable, growing and ongoing revenue sources that will pay for fixing deficient bridges, reconstructing aging interstates, widening narrow roads, installing technology that improves safety and efficiency, and providing transportation options including public transit.
Attention to roads, bridges, and public transportation costs money, but inattention can cost lives. From potholes that damage cars and cause accidents, to deficient bridges that need updates and reconstruction; from traffic bottlenecks that steal time from families and businesses to two lane roads that need widening and safety upgrades, there is a lot to do.
The federal government is an important partner with states and local governments to pay for locally-developed transportation projects. Congress created the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) in 1956 to ensure steady funding for states building the Interstate Highway System. Today, the HTF supports mobility options—interstates, other nationally important roads and bridges, and even public transportation.
When Congress created the HTF, it established the user-supported federal funding system that continues to support roads and public transportation today by dedicating taxes to transportation. However, because of inflation, these user fees don’t have the buying power they did in 1993—the last year those user fees were increased. More fuel-efficient vehicles, along with higher gas prices, have meant that there is not enough money to maintain level spending on roads, bridges, and public transit.
In order to plan and execute large- and small-scale transportation projects that are critical to commerce and the American quality of life, federal transportation programs need a reliable, steady source of revenue.
I urge you to put politics aside and find the revenues for the federal government to help state and local governments pay for important transportation investments. The user-supported HTF has been a bipartisan compromise from the beginning. For 58 years the HTF has served America’s transportation infrastructure well and helped to create the world’s largest economy; however, its long-term solvency has been jeopardized by a lack of action in both the legislative and executive branches.