By Ramsey Cox
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) called for the passage of a bipartisan highway bill and more federal investment in infrastructure projects.
“Infrastructure investments helped attract the workers, business, and investments that made America a superpower,” Brown said Monday. “We built the best infrastructure in the world, but have watched it crumble for decades.
Brown’s comments came as the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that it would have to reduce road and transit payments this summer if Congress doesn’t pass legislation to increase funding for the Highway Trust Fund, which will have only $4 billion in August.
The Highway Trust Fund is financed by the 18.4 cents-per-gallon gas tax, but some lawmakers have proposed raising that since the rate hasn’t been increased for nearly 20 years, causing the funding shortfall.
Brown said that if Congress doesn’t pass a highway bill reauthorization it could cost his state more than 100,000 jobs.
Both chambers have proposed short-term extensions in transportation funding. The Senate bill would provide $9 billion to carry infrastructure spending through the end of the year and the House bill funds transportation projects for a year through cuts at the U.S. Postal Service.