The Highway Trust Fund will likely be completely dried up by 2015, said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), one of several speakers at the Infrastructure for the Future conference held Nov. 21 in Washington, D.C. The conference was put on by the American Highway Users and the Volvo Group.
She and others argued that improving infrastructure funding is imperative not only for creating long-term stability for roads and bridges, but also for its spinoff effect on the recovery and growth of the U.S. economy.
American Trucking Associations President and CEO Bill Graves said one alternative is to increase the federal fuel tax. Everyone in Congress knows that, he said, but trucking and other highway interests are “fighting a plague of intellectual amnesia” among lawmakers concerning the country’s need to find long-term funding solutions.
Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) said he would like to see a 50-year infrastructure revolving loan plan that would produce $750 billion in infrastructure spending. It would be funded by large corporations buying low-interest bonds in return for tax breaks on overseas earnings.
Delaney said it’s “the largest piece of bipartisan economic legislation in Congress.” It’s also supported by GOP and Democratic think tanks.