Finding Solutions to Finance the Federal Highway Trust Fund
For those of you who have been watching the news, you are likely aware that the state of Arkansas has delayed construction projects due to uncertainty regarding the Federal Highway Trust Fund.
I want to let you, my constituents, know that while there is uncertainty about the fund’s future, I am working with my colleagues in Washington to find a long-term solution that prioritizes spending and doesn't raise taxes to provide necessary financing to the Trust Fund in future years, creating long-lasting sustainability instead of a short-term fix.
I introduced legislation in late March that would exempt Trust Fund monies from being used to pay local sales tax on raw materials. So instead of the possibility of two to five percent of a project’s funding going to pay local sales taxes, this bill makes sure that any funds from the Federal Highway Trust Fund are only used to purchase raw materials, such as asphalt and concrete and the labor and services to install it.
As the Sentinel-Record in Hot Springs reported last month, we estimate savings of $1 billion to $2 billion per year as a result of the change. This has the potential to put the Federal Highway Trust Fund on the path to sustainability without raising taxes. I am also working on a bill to fully fund the $12 billion to $15 billion per year Highway Trust Fund deficit that I plan to file in the coming weeks.