Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) today made the following statement after the Senate failed to pass his amendment to the Surface Transportation Reauthorization bill that would have ensured states receive a fair share of the total available amount of funds in the Federal-Aid Highway Program:
"Today's vote reinforces an unfair system that penalizes some states, including Indiana, while rewarding other states that raked in earmarks over the years," said Coats. "Hoosiers filling up at the gas pump deserve to see a fair share of their tax dollars returned to the state to build roads and repair bridges."
"I am disappointed the Senate failed to pass my amendment that would have restored equity and provided Indiana its rightful share of the available highway funds," added Coats. "I cannot support this legislation because it puts Indiana at a disadvantage and spends beyond our nation's fiscal limits."
The highway bill, in its current form, locks in the precedent that so-called "winner states" will continue to receive more than their fair share of highway funding while traditional "donor" states like Indiana will continue to receive a reduced share. If a state received fewer highway funds and earmarks over the last several years, that state will continue to receive a reduced share.
Indiana residents pay approximately 2.71 percent of the total federal gas tax. Under the current legislation, Indiana would receive only 2.35 percent of the total highway funding distribution -- a difference that translates into nearly $300 million in additional funds. The Coats amendment would have allowed Indiana to receive the same percentage of available highway funding as Hoosiers contribute when they pay gas taxes at the pump.
The Surface Transportation Reauthorization bill also violates the discretionary spending caps established last summer when Congress passed the Budget Control Act.