Budget Blog

Following a status report released by the Department of Transportation on the Highway Trust Fund reaching critically low levels this summer, Senator Patty Murray reiterated her call for Congress to act, and avoid another crisis this summer.

Below is selected coverage of Senator Murray’s statement:

Washington Post: "Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chairman of the subcommittee on transportation, called the USDOT forecast, ‘a wake up call to Congress.’ ‘The Highway Trust Fund is heading toward an avoidable crisis as early as July, and if we don’t act, could lead to a construction shutdown on our nation’s roads and bridges. Every day that Congress waits to address this looming crisis, states will be forced to make difficult planning decisions, as many already have, to delay projects that improve roads and bridges in their communities,’ Murray said in a statement. ‘We cannot stand by, as the Highway Trust Fund nears critically low levels, and lose new investments in our roads and bridges, especially when these are the very projects that ensure businesses can move their goods quickly and efficiently and help ease congestion for commuters across the country.”

Reuters: “Senator Patty Murray, a Democrat who chairs the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on transportation, warned that funding could reach a critically low level as early as July. ‘Today's update from the Department of Transportation should be a wake-up call to Congress,’ Murray said in a statement. ‘Every day that Congress waits to address this looming crisis, states will be forced to make difficult planning decisions, as many already have, to delay projects that improve roads and bridges in their communities.’”

CQ: “Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray reiterated her call for Congress to supplement the slumping Highway Trust Fund with new revenue from corporate tax changes, in a statement Tuesday that lays the groundwork for Democrats to blame House Republicans if road construction projects start shutting down this summer. ‘I’m hopeful that Democrats and Republicans can act on bipartisan proposals that would use corporate revenue to shore up the trust fund to keep those construction projects up and running, and our economy moving,’ the Washington Democrat said, in commenting to the latest Transportation Department update on the trust fund’s health. ‘Unfortunately, the House Republican budget would take us in the opposite direction. Instead of solving this crisis fairly and responsibly, it would shut down new construction financed out of the Highway Trust Fund for all of fiscal year 2015, which would hurt workers, our economy, and states across the country.’”

The Hill: “’Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said the update from the DOT should send a message to lawmakers that they need to act fast to save the federal transportation funding system. ‘Today’s update from the Department of Transportation should be a wake-up call to Congress,’ Murray said. ‘The Highway Trust Fund is heading toward an avoidable crisis as early as July, and if we don’t act, could lead to a construction shutdown on our nation’s roads and bridges. Every day that Congress waits to address this looming crisis, states will be forced to make difficult planning decisions, as many already have, to delay projects that improve roads and bridges in their communities.’”

Politico: “Sen. Patty Murray says today’s latest DOT warning that the Highway Trust Fund will run out of money by this summer should be a ‘wake-up call to Congress’ to avert the crisis. ‘The Highway Trust Fund is heading toward an avoidable crisis as early as July, and if we don’t act, could lead to a construction shutdown on our nation’s roads and bridges,’ said Murray, the Budget Committee chairwoman who also chairs the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees transportation issues. ‘Every day that Congress waits to address this looming crisis, states will be forced to make difficult planning decisions, as many already have, to delay projects that improve roads and bridges in their communities.’ She called on Congress to pass a new surface transportation bill before the trust fund hits the critically low level of $4 billion, which her aides said could happen as early as July. That’s when DOT could begin to take steps to delay or reduce payments to states.”

The Hill: “Supporters of a multi-year transportation bill, which include Sen. Murray, have argued that state and local governments need more certainty in federal transportation funding than the current two-year measure that is scheduled to expire in September. Lawmakers said when they passed the 2012 Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act that they could only cobble together enough money for transportation projects to last until this year. Murray said Tuesday that she was in favor of proposals from President Obama and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) to use money from corporate tax reform to replenish the highway trust fund for another round of infrastructure projects.”