June 23,2008

Baucus Blasts Senate Block of Funds for Urgent Infrastructure Repairs

Finance Chairman seeks return of $8 billion to Highway Trust for good-paying jobs, safe roads with new U.S. highway projects

Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.)
strongly condemned the Senate’s failure today to reach unanimous consent on legislation
that would provide $8 billion of much-needed funding to the depleted U.S. Highway
Trust Fund, as part of the 6-month Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) extension
legislation. The proposal would enable vital infrastructure repairs and new projects that
would create jobs for tens of thousands of Americans while ensuring safe travel for
millions more. The Baucus plan would transfer $8 billion from the General Fund to the
Highway Trust Fund, the same amount transferred from the Highway Trust Fund to the
General Fund in 1998.

“Highway Trust Fund deficits threaten to derail our infrastructure projects and put
our citizens at risk, yet the Senate was stopped today from passing crucial legislation
for America’s public safety and for folks who desperately need the jobs that
highway funds create,”
Baucus said. “It’s past time to replace money originally
taken from the Highway Trust when it was solvent. Replenishing the highway trust
fund now would prevent the loss of an estimated 380,000 jobs, create new ones, and
do so without increasing the federal budget deficit. Unfounded objections are
keeping the Senate from providing a timely, responsible and critical response to the
need for highway jobs and safer America’s roadways.”

Failure to pass a six-month extension of FAA reauthorization, which was also blocked by
today’s objection, will result in a furlough of thousands of FAA employees at the end of
this month.

# # #