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As one of our over 6.5 million FreedomWorks activists nationwide, I urge you to contact your senators and ask them to vote YES on the Lee Amendment to H.R. 5021, the bill to bail out the Federal Highway Trust Fund. Senator Lee’s amendment would prevent future bailouts of the poorly managed Highway Trust Fund by gradually returning that money and authority to the states.
The Highway Trust Fund was designed to be a self-sustaining program, funded via revenues from the federal gas tax. Instead, a combination of loose management of where the funds go and declining gas tax revenues has led the fund to periodically run nearly dry. Congress has continually avoided structural reform of the fund by just bailing the trust fund out with funds from elsewhere.
With the fund running short on resources once again, Congress is not only substituting a cash bailout for a real solution, it is using budget gimmicks to supposedly offset the cost. Kicking the problem down the road once more – until May 2015 this time – is not good governance.
Senator Lee’s amendment – which contains the text of his Transportation Empowerment Act, S. 1702 – offers a real, long-term alternative to the government’s transportation funding woes. Shifting the funding and revenue responsibilities for highway maintenance back to the states largely eliminates the spending that is otherwise wasted on bureaucratic federal middlemen, and cuts most of the federal strings attached to the money. This independence means that states will have the opportunity to actually fund the highway and infrastructure projects that are necessary, with an incentive to use that money more efficiently than the federal government ever does.
Please contact your senators and ask that they vote YES on Senator Lee’s amendment to H.R. 5021. FreedomWorks will count a vote on this amendment as a Key Vote when calculating our Economic Freedom Scorecard for 2014. The scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the FreedomFighter Award, which recognizes Members of Congress who consistently vote to support economic freedom.
If the Senate fails to pass Senator Lee’s amendment to solve the Highway Trust Fund’s woes in the long-term, FreedomWorks will also count a NO vote on H.R. 5021 as a Key Vote for 2014.
Matt Kibbe President and CEO, FreedomWorks