Today, U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann (MN-6) made the following statement in response to the recent announcement by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peter that the Federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF) would run out of funds even earlier than previously anticipated, falling $8.3 billion short by the end of September:
"I am very disappointed about the lack of funds in the Federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF). We knew a shortfall was coming, but to run out earlier than expected really puts a lot of important projects in jeopardy. Now more than ever, it is clear that Congress must make a commonsense, long-term, taxpayer-friendly solution for our nation's transportation investments a priority.
"Thankfully, in my state of Minnesota, the Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) is well prepared for the lack of federal funds. According to Mn/DOT, they managed their affairs and maintained a cash balance that could see them through this shortfall. That short-term fix will hold at least through the end of the September. But, something must be done now to ensure state transportation departments like Mn/DOT can adequately operate for years to come. I commend Governor Pawlenty and MnDOT for their leadership on this matter.
"In July, I supported H.R. 6532, a bill to infuse the HTF with $8 billion to alleviate the projected shortfall in the coming fiscal year. Although I supported this bill, I do not see it as a long term solution to our transportation funding troubles. Transferring funds from general revenue to cover the HTF shortfall must not become a precedent and Congress must set itself seriously to the task of reforming the way it pays for infrastructure improvements. Regrettably, Congress created this mess by raiding the trust fund for special interest projects. It is not fair to make America's hard-working taxpayers foot the bill for this irresponsible behavior.
"Clearly, this earlier than anticipated funding shortfall proves that it is critical that our nation's transportation funding be re-worked. Before adjourning at the end of this month, Washington must make this one of its top priorities."