Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) today reintroduced H.R. 1065, the Surface Transportation and Taxation Equity (STATE) Act, a bill that seeks to address our insolvent transportation program and end the taxpayer bailouts of the Highway Trust Fund. The STATE Act would allow states to opt out of the federal transportation program and forgo their transportation allocations. In return, states will be allowed to keep the 18.4 cents per gallon federal tax within their borders. This would not only put us on a path towards ending the bailouts, but also free states from burdensome federal mandates, empower state and local officials, and increase state resources without any additional cost to the taxpayer.
"For our children and our grandchildren's future, we must put an end to Washington bailouts," said Garrett upon introduction. "On top of the bailouts to the banks and car companies, the hardworking American taxpayers have bailed out the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) no less than three times over the last five years. It must stop. The STATE Act will do just that--it will give states the freedom to make highway and infrastructure spending decisions that best suit their individual needs without additional cost to taxpayers."
The STATE Act would:
Return primary transportation program responsibility and taxing authority to the states;
Free up states' transportation dollars from federal micromanagement;
Enable decisions regarding which infrastructure projects will be built, how they will be financed, and how they will be regulated to be made by persons best able to make
Eliminate the current system in which federal gasoline taxes are sent to Washington through a cumbersome Department of Transportation bureaucracy;
Prohibit the federal government from forcing unwanted mandates on states by threatening to withhold transportation money.
Since 2008, the revenue generated by the federal motor fuels tax has not been sufficient to sustain the level of federal spending on transportation infrastructure.
The large gap between revenues and funding over the last five years has resulted in no less than three bailouts of the HTF, requiring the transfer of over $30 billion from the general fund to keep the HTF afloat.
And the bailouts are scheduled to continue. The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act--signed into law in July 2012--provides for general fund transfers to the HTF of $6.2 billion and $12.6 billion for Fiscal Year 2013 and Fiscal Year 2014 respectively.