Manufacturers scoring House highway bill vote

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The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) said that it would be scoring lawmakers votes on a bill to temporarily extend federal transportation funding into next spring that is scheduled to come up in the House on Tuesday. 

The House is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a $10 billion transportation funding package that is similar, but not identical to a measure that has begun moving in the Senate. 

The measures are intended to prevent a bankruptcy in transportation funding that has been predicted to occur next month absent congressional action. 

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The manufacturers association said Tuesday that it would be keeping an eye on how lawmakers in the House vote on the on the highway legislation. 

“The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the largest manufacturing association in the United States representing manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states, urges you to support H.R. 5021,the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014,” the group wrote in a key vote alert that was sent to lawmakers on Tuesday. 

“The need to keep the Highway Trust Fund financially solvent extends far beyond state transportation departments and road builders,” the manufacturers’ association continued. “Manufacturers need stable and reliable infrastructure to thrive and compete in today’s economy.” 

The announcement follows earlier declarations by conservative groups like the Heritage Action foundation and the Club for Growth that they would be scoring votes against the transportation funding legislation. 

The legislation at issue is intended to prevent a bankruptcy in federal transportation spending that has been predicted to occur next month unless Congress acts to prevent it. 

Budget analysts have projected that the Department of Transportation’s Highway Trust Fund will run short by about $16 billion per year without an additional infusion of cash or a drastic cut back in federal transportation spending. 

The traditional source of funding for transportation projects has been the 18.4 cents-per-gallon gas tax. The tax has been stagnant since 1993, however, and it has struggled to keep pace with infrastructure expenses as cars have become more fuel efficient in recent years. 

The gas tax brings in about $34 billion per year, but the federal government currently spends approximately $50 billion annually on road and transit projects. Transportation advocates have said that the current funding level is the minimum that can be spent to maintain the present state of the nation’s infrastructure network. 

However, conservative groups in Washington have argued that federal transportation spending should be cut back to the amount of money that is brought in by the gas tax at the very least. 

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