Oppose H.R. 5021 | Council For Citizens Against Government Waste

Oppose H.R. 5021

Letters to Officials

July 15, 2014
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C.  20515

Dear Representative,

You will soon consider H.R. 5021, the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014, which would transfer or otherwise generate $10.8 billion to extend, from August 1, 2014 through May 2015, federal-aid highway, highway safety, motor carrier safety, transit, and other programs funded out of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF).  On behalf of the more than one million members and supporters of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW), I urge you to oppose this legislation.

If passed, this bill would be the fifth bailout of the HTF since 2008.  Despite these bailouts, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that total trust fund losses will rise to $167 billion by 2024.  At the same time, highway funding bills have been notoriously stuffed with wasteful pork-barrel spending directed at influential members’ pet projects.  Fortunately, the House and Senate have continued the earmark moratorium in the 113th Congress.  Nonetheless, there are concerns that this ban would either be circumvented or that earmarks will return without significant reforms.

While we recognize the merit of providing stable financing for transportation infrastructure, we believe that more responsible priorities for funding need to be enacted.  As CBO has noted, outlays will continue to outpace dedicated revenues as long as current policies (including non-highway-related expenditures) are left unchanged.  And despite the “sky is falling” claims that emanate from those who insist on perpetuating bad policy against the backdrop of a looming deadline that does not allow for more thoughtful consideration of more responsible transportation funding, only about 7 percent of current projects will be potentially impacted if there is no extension or new legislation.

Congress should get serious about returning greater flexibility to states and localities to allow them to address the infrastructure needs that they deem most pressing, without earmarks or unnecessary federal interference.  However, until such reforms are adopted, transportation needs should not be paid for through more smoke-and-mirrors budgetary gimmickry and tax and fee increases, such as “pension smoothing.”

I urge you to oppose the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014.  All votes on H.R. 5021 will be among those considered in CCAGW’s 2014 Congressional Ratings.                         


Tom Schatz
President, CCAGW

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