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House Votes to Replenish Highway Trust Fund
Thursday, 30 July 2009 00:00

The House of Representatives voted to transfer $7 billion into the ailing Highway Trust Fund, a move leaders said was necessary to keep the fund solvent through the upcoming congressional recess.

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed a resolution, 363 to 68, to transfer $7 billion dollars into the Highway Trust Fund with money from the Treasury.

“States are desperate for funding,” said Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee’s panel on select revenues. “We need to pay for these repairs. Kicking the can down the road will not work.”

The bill now leaves the Senate to address the trust fund issue. The two bodies have been at odds over how best to address the shortfall projected to impact the fund in August. The Senate has been working on a $27 billion infusion tied to an 18-month extension of the current surface transportation law.

“This is an infusion, not an extension. We are not standing for the whims of the other body or of the administration for an extension of time,” said Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.), chairman of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, who added that the additional money “will carry the trust fund through the end of the fiscal year and into October.”

Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) opposed the bill, saying that Congress should not bail out a fund that does not have enough revenue to support it.

“No new money is spent under this bill,” said Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), explaining the $7 billion comes from money that previously had been taken from the trust fund and placed in the general treasury.

Transport Topics, 7/30/2009