Washington, D.C. —Today, following the passage of legislation to keep the government open through December 11, U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly called on the Senate to refocus its attention on the economic issues impacting Indiana and our country. As part of this effort, Donnelly introduced bipartisan legislation with Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) that seeks to fix funding of federal highway programs so that every state would receive its fair share. The bill is nearly identical to the amendment Donnelly and Flake introduced to the Senate version of the Surface Transportation Reauthorization bill in July 2015.
Donnelly said, “Hoosiers don’t ask for much: just do your job and treat people fairly. It’s time for Congress to do its job and pass a long-term highway bill that gives each state its fair share. For too long Hoosier taxpayers have provided millions of dollars to build roads in other states without a guarantee of a fair return. That is why Senator Flake and I introduced our commonsense, bipartisan bill to address this problem.”
Flake said, “The highway trust fund is a raw deal for Arizona and other donor states. I’m pleased to cosponsor this bipartisan bill that would keep much-needed transportation dollars in Arizona by ensuring each state gets only its fair share of highway trust funding.”
Donnelly introduced a bipartisan amendment to the highway bill on July 26, 2015 with Flake that sought to fix funding of federal highway programs so that every state would receive a fair percentage of total funding, equal to at least 95% of a state’s portion of the contributions to the Highway Trust Fund. In the Senate bill, Indiana would only receive highway funding at a rate of return of approximately 91% of the share the state contributes to the Highway Trust Fund, instead of the current principle of states getting a 95% rate of return. That difference would shortchange Indiana an estimated $280 million in highway funding over the next six years. The Donnelly-Flake amendment was not considered during Senate consideration of the six-year Surface Transportation Reauthorization.