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ATA lays out infrastructure funding ideas

“While we continue to believe that the fuel tax is the fairest, most efficient method of funding our highway system, we also recognize the political difficulties of getting an increase through Congress,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said. “The work of this task force lays out what is acceptable to the trucking industry, and what should be acceptable to our political leaders to address the Highway Trust Fund crisis."

The Trucker News Services

5/21/2014

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – American Trucking Associations officials Wednesday endorsed a menu of revenue alternatives to address the nation’s surface transportation infrastructure funding crisis.

The action came at an ATA leadership meeting being held here.

“Several months ago, ATA’s leaders convened a task force with the purpose of evaluating alternatives in addition to the federal fuel tax for financing the nation’s roads and bridges,” ATA Chairman Phil Byrd, president and CEO of Bulldog Hiway Express, Charleston, South Carolina, said. “Today, this association reaffirms our commitment to a strong, well-funded federal highway program.”

“When the process began, we had a list of more than 30 potential funding sources,” said ATA Vice Chairman Pat Thomas, vice president of UPS Inc., and vice chairman of the funding task force. “What we’ve narrowed that down to is a list of options that could provide the resources needed to address the critical highway and bridge upgrades we need.”

ATA’s funding menu includes:

• Indexing of the fuel tax based on price, CPI or the estimated impact of improved fuel efficiency;

• Proceeds from repatriation of overseas capital;

• Issuance of Treasury bonds subsidized with revenue from indexing the fuel tax;

• A new annual “highway access fee” for all motorists;

• Use of royalties from new oil and gas leases;

• A per-barrel tax on imported oil and domestic crude production;

• And finally, as a last resort, a transfer from the General Fund to ensure short-term Highway Trust Fund stability.

 “While we continue to believe that the fuel tax is the fairest, most efficient method of funding our highway system, we also recognize the political difficulties of getting an increase through Congress,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said. “The work of this task force lays out what is acceptable to the trucking industry, and what should be acceptable to our political leaders to address the Highway Trust Fund crisis."

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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