HTF Expiration: Sample Letter to the Editor

As expiration nears of the current legislation that provides funding for the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) – the revenue source that pays for our nation’s highways, bridges and transit systems – extremist forces who have railed against the federal highway and transit programs for years are out in full force. Their legions are busily spreading misinformation through newspapers such as this one, and they are ultimately espousing policy that is bad for consumers and businesses.

Recent missives provide inaccurate and wrong-headed reasons why Congress doesn’t really need to address the federal fuel user fee this year. Their claims, to put it simply, don’t have the facts on their side. With the deadline for Congressional action–May 31–quickly approaching, now is the time to get up to speed on those facts and share them with your elected representatives so their decisions relating to the HTF can be based on the truth rather than on extremist fiction:

Fact: America can’t afford NOT to fix the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) or the transportation infrastructure it funds; the longer Congress takes to fix the problem, the more consumers and businesses pay to fix vehicles that experience damage because of deteriorating infrastructure.

Fact: Transit is a critical component to relieving and preventing the worsening of road congestion. Under President Ronald Regan, Congress determined transit was an essential piece of the solution.

Fact: Inflationary and wage and materials increases over time mean the 18.4 cents per-gallon federal user fee is effectively worth about 11.5 cents today compared to when the federal user fee was last increased in 1993.

Fact: It is well established that the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) will become insolvent in the summer of 2015 if legislation re-authorizing MAP-21 is not passed and signed into law, meaning if Congress does not act, the federal government will slow or stop sending checks to state DOTs this summer. The economic consequences of not being able to pay contractors and employees will send shockwaves throughout our economy.

It is irresponsible for Congress – just because of the threats of extremists that to campaign against them – not to act to prevent the negative economic impact of inaction – on communities across America and the overall economy. Facts matter, and Americans deserve better than the current out-of-date highways, bridges and transit systems we currently have. Time is of the essence to let Congress know we all support the facts.