May 08,2012

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The Facts on the Senate Highway Bill's Funding

The Senate Highway Bill Supports 1.6 Million Jobs, Reduces the Deficit, Ensures the Highway Trust Fund Remains Solvent

The Senate Highway Bill (S. 1813) reauthorizes and fully funds the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) for two years, investing $9.2 billion over that timespan in job-creating infrastructure projects to ensure safety and mobility, help businesses operate, reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality.  The Senate bill also makes a long-term down payment for future highway improvements, investing nearly $14 billion in our highway infrastructure over the next decade.

Not only does the Senate bill not add a single cent to the deficit, it actually reduces the deficit by $10 billion.

The Senate bill reauthorizes the Highway Trust Fund and guarantees it will remain fully-funded through 2013.

  • The Senate reached broad, bipartisan agreement on funding sources that would fully cover the highway bill’s two-year life.  The Senate passed the bill 74-22.

The Senate bill invests more than $9.2 billion into the Highway Trust Fund over the bill’s two-year span.

  • A bipartisan proposal immediately transfers to the HTF $3 billion in surplus funds from the Leaking Underground Storage Tank trust fund (LUST fund), which relies on fuel taxes for funding. 
  • It also routes a third of the future LUST Fund fuel taxes into the HTF, contributing nearly another $700 million.
  • The bill transfers fees on cars that don’t comply with fuel efficiency standards, as well as tariffs on foreign auto imports.  Together, these provisions contribute nearly $5 billion to the HTF.

The Senate bill leaves the Highway Trust Fund with a surplus, or “cushion,” at the end of the two-year reauthorization in 2013.

  • The Department of Transportation requested the Senate bill leave a cushion in the Highway Trust Fund that would last beyond the two-year reauthorization.
  • The Senate bill raises enough funding to leave a $3.6 billion cushion at the end of its two-year life.
  • The House has failed to pass any Highway Bill besides a 90-day, short-term extension.  Unless action is taken beyond short-term extensions, the Highway Trust Fund will be insolvent by early 2013.

The Senate bill also makes an additional long-term investment, raising its ten-year total to nearly $14 billion invested in our highway infrastructure. 

  • The additional investment comes from bipartisan funding provisions that last beyond the two-year HTF reauthorization.

The Senate bill does not add to the deficit or debt, and it replenishes every dime transferred from the government’s General Fund.

  • The bill replenished the General Fund for the amounts moved into the Highway Trust Fund.
  • The largest provision to replenish the General Fund stabilizes contributions into pension plans and raises nearly $9.5 billion over ten years.  Other funding provisions crack down on tax cheats and increase penalties on unscrupulous Medicare providers.
  • In total, these provisions replenish every penny transferred from the General Fund.