U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) today blasted the House Ways and Means Committee's legislation to temporarily patch the Highway Trust Fund, which funds improvements to roads, bridges and transit systems, by transferring nearly $10 billion from the general fund. The $10 billion transfer is spent within a few months but paid for over 10 years using budget gimmicks.
"This disgraceful practice of borrowing money to cover a few months of spending and paying for it over a decade is nothing more than generational theft," said Corker. "If Congress believes these transportation projects are important, then Congress should have the courage to pay for it in the same timeframe the money is being spent rather than cowardly throw future generations under the bus. It's shameful for a nation of our greatness to be handling infrastructure funding the way that we are."
The federal Highway Trust Fund provides half of the country's spending on transportation projects and will run dry in August, likely halting the construction of any new transportation projects without action from Congress. This will result in a 50 percent reduction in Tennessee's transportation budget in 2015 and create a $160 billion hole in state budgets nationwide over the next decade at a time when they can least afford it.
Last month, Corker and Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) announced a bipartisan proposal that would create a long-term, stable funding mechanism for the Highway Trust Fund.