Washington, D.C. —U.S. Senators Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) today introduced an amendment to the Senate version of the Surface Transportation Reauthorization bill. Donnelly and Flake’s amendment would ensure for each state a fair share of federal highway funding.
Donnelly said, “In Indiana, we have roads and bridges in great need of repair. If we are going to make our highways safe for travel and open for business, we need to get back our fair share of federal highway funding. Right now, Hoosier taxpayers are providing hundreds of millions of dollars to build roads in other states. That is unacceptable.”
Flake said, “The highway trust fund is a raw deal for Arizona and other donor states. I’m pleased to cosponsor this bipartisan fix that would keep much-needed transportation dollars in Arizona by ensuring each state gets only its fair share of highway trust funding.”
Steve Fisher, spokesman for Build Indiana Council, an organization representing Indiana’s highway construction industry, said, “Indiana has long been a highway funding donor state. Since the inception of the Federal Highway Program in 1956, Indiana’s rate of return has been 84 percent, meaning hundreds of millions of dollars have been transferred from Indiana to other states. Indiana has significant highway funding needs. This amendment will help meet those needs by ensuring a more equitable distribution of federal highway funds.”
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 91% in return on its contributions to the Highway Trust Fund and Arizona receives 94% in return—losing out on tens of millions of dollars each year.
Donnelly and Flake’s amendment 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.