Aiming to address both the lack of funding for the Highway Trust Fund and the lack of trust in finding a long-term solution for that, Rep. Tim Rice (R-SC) has introduced a bill that would hike federal motor-fuel taxes by 10.1 cents per gallon and index the new rate to inflation.
To offset the rate increase the Highway Trust Fund Certainty Act (H.R. 2971) would put in a new income tax credit for individuals to help defray the higher cost of filing up. According to Rep. Rice, rather than raise revenue, the bill would move money from the general fund into the Highway Trust Fund, providing long-term HTF.
Rice’s bill arrives just three weeks before the current funding authority for HTF runs out. In a statement, Rice argued that the revenue formula supporting the fund must be “modernized” lest it pile up a $13 billion deficit this year alone.
“Our Highway Trust Fund isn’t funded and cannot be trusted,” said Rice. “The uncertainty this trust fund creates stifles investment from states and industry, and makes American businesses less competitive. After researching long-term solutions, I am proposing legislation to fix the Highway Trust Fund in the only way that makes sense, by adjusting the user fee. This will make certain that the fund is solvent and necessary investments in our infrastructure can be made. Like states across the nation, South Carolina’s roads are in poor shape and we cannot afford a 34th short-term patch.
“H.R. 2971 will fund much-needed new roads on our congested highway system and will ensure that the condition of our highways will improve, encouraging investment and creating good paying jobs,” he added. “Additionally, improvements to the system will reduce accidents and improve safety.”