Congressman Jared Polis released the following statement on House passage of a 90-day extension of federal transportation initiatives. The extension is necessary due to the House majority's refusal to consider the bipartisan Senate transportation bill and its inability to secure passage of its own partisan highway bill (H.R. 7), which would cut highway funding for Colorado by $90 million over five years and eliminate future guaranteed federal funding for mass transit solutions. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, H.R. 7 would actually bankrupt the Highway Trust Fund in 2016 and leave it with a $78 billion shortfall.
"There isn't a Republican or Democratic way to build and maintain our highways or mass transit systems," said Polis. "We should be able to come together on something as simple as ensuring sufficient funding for transportation, which is essential for job creation and our economy. Instead of continuing this madness for another 90 days and allowing the political games to continue, the House needs to pass the Senate bill giving Colorado certainty, putting our state back to work and moving forward key transportation needs like improvements to I-70 and US-36."
In total, the House majority's highway provisions would cost 550,000 jobs with cuts in investments in federal-aid highways of $15.8 billion from current levels, reducing funding for all but 5 states over the life of the bill. For mass transit, the bill would eliminate guaranteed funding that currently comes from the gas tax (2.86 cents per gallon of the 18.3 cents per gallon total gas tax). After five years, there would be no dedicated long-term revenue stream for transit and transit would have to compete for funding under the annual appropriations process, putting funding at a high risk of termination.