U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said that he joined 66 other senators in signing a bipartisan letter urging Congress to come up with a quick resolution to a shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund.
According to the letter sent to Finance Committee members and the Democratic and Republican Senate Leaders, “The pending revenue shortfall in FY 2009, if left unaddressed, would cost over 485,000 American jobs. Furthermore, ongoing efforts to reduce traffic congestion, improve safety and enhance long-term economic productivity would be severely disrupted by a large cut in highway investment.”
“States depend on this money to make sure their roads are up to par, and this shortfall will seriously hurt Tennessee if we don’t act quickly to fix it,” said Alexander. “We need to make sure we correct this problem as soon as possible so the thousands of Tennesseans will continue to be able to drive safely on our highways.”
In the years following passage in 2005 of the multi-year highway bill – the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users, also known as SAFETEA-LU – 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 fund the federal highway program at the SAFETEA-LU guaranteed level in 2009. Without a fix, the highway program would have to be cut by about $14 billion, or 34 percent, in order to prevent it from running out of money.
A full text of the letter is available upon request.