U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said that he voted in favor of the Highway Trust Fund bill (H.R. 6532) to ensure that money is restored to state transportation funds.
“States depend on this money to make sure their roads are up to par, and we need to make sure this money gets to them to do exactly that,” said Alexander, a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) that has jurisdiction over highways. “This bill will bring $235.6 million to our state to make sure thousands of Tennesseans will continue to be able to drive safely on our highways.”
The Highway Trust Fund bill prevents a revenue shortfall in Fiscal Year 2009 funding that would cost over 485,000 American jobs and severely disrupt efforts to reduce traffic congestion, improve safety, and enhance long-term economic productivity.
On July 3rd, Alexander joined a bipartisan group of 66 other senators in writing a letter to the Finance Committee and the Democratic and Republican Senate Leaders urging Congress to come up with a solution to a projected shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund. Since the 2005 passage of the multi-year highway bill that set spending levels for the Highway Trust Fund, high gas prices and a weaker economy have had a strong negative impact on gas tax receipts. As a result there will not be sufficient resources in the Highway Trust Fund to pay for the federal highway program at the level guaranteed for 2009. Without this fix agreed to by the Senate today, the highway program would have to be cut by about $14 billion, or 35 percent, in order to prevent it from running out of money.
Alexander has also called for the establishment of a highway efficiency standard that ranks the states according to who has the most efficient highways to pressure governors to clean up their highways and reduce traffic jams.
H.R. 6532, the Highway Trust Fund bill, passed the Senate by voice vote last night.