Donnelly, Burr Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Ensure States Get Fair Share of Federal Highway Funds

Senators introduce legislation to fix funding formula for highway programs

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Richard Burr (R-NC) today introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure that each state receives a fair share of federal highway funding.

Donnelly said, “As the crossroads of America, our transportation infrastructure is critical to Indiana’s economy. I want to make sure that Indiana receives its fair share of federal highway funding because Hoosier taxpayers, like every American taxpayer, deserve to know that their tax dollars are being fairly invested in their communities.”

Burr said, “North Carolina has always prioritized our roads and highways. It’s time the federal government held up their end of the bargain. For years, our state has contributed generously to the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), a fund to maintain roads and bridges paid for by the federal gas tax, only to be shortchanged on the back end by at least $50 million annually. With a simple legislative fix, North Carolina and numerous other states will see more hard-earned tax dollars remain in their states to take care of their own backyard. I hope my colleagues will work to pass this common-sense legislation as soon as possible.”

Currently, each state is guaranteed a return of at least 95% of its tax contributions to the Highway Trust Fund. Federal highway programs, however, are no longer exclusively funded by Highway Trust Fund contributions so the 95% guarantee only applies to a portion of the total expenditures.

As a result, Indiana receives a little less than 92% in return on its contributions to the Highway Trust Fund and North Carolina receives 90% in return—losing out on tens of millions of dollars each year. Donnelly and Burr’s legislation would ensure that every state receives a percentage of total highway funding equal to at least 95% of a state’s portion of the contributions to the Highway Trust Fund. Under this bill, Indiana would receive approximately $24.5 million a year more in federal highway funds.

Donnelly has previously pushed to ensure states receive its fair share of federal highway funding. In 2015, Donnelly and Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) introduced bipartisan legislation that would fix funding of federal highway programs and also introduced an amendment to the Senate version of the Surface Transportation Reauthorization bill. They also urged Congressional leaders, in a letter, to fix funding of federal highway programs in the long-term transportation reauthorization.

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