The American Highway Users Alliance has praised Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus for introducing the Maximum Economic Growth for America through The Highway Trust Fund (MEGA Trust Act), to fuel tax equity and maximize financing available for road and bridge investments.
“Sen Baucus' legislation will maximize the amount of funding available to improve highway safety without raising fuel taxes on motorists and truckers,” said William D Fay, president and chief executive officer of the highway users group. Addressing the bill's provisions to reimburse the Highway Trust Fund for ethanol subsidies and direct all ethanol taxes to highway investments, Fay said, “Ethanol is a politically volatile issue. Its use costs the Highway Trust Fund $1 billion a year today, an amount that could grow under some ethanol expansion scenarios to $3 billion by the year 2012. But Sen Baucus has found a way to alleviate the loss in funding so vital to our nation's highway infrastructure while keeping the ethanol subsidies in place.”
The MEGA Trust Act corrects the way federal revenues are credited to the Highway Trust Fund. Nothing in the bill increases any tax. If enacted, the bill will:
Fully credit all taxes paid on gasohol to the Highway Trust Fund (2.5 cents now goes into the United States Treasury's General Fund).
Shift the cost of the national policy to develop and promote use of gasohol from motorists and truckers to general taxpayers.
These two provisions alone would increase Highway Account revenues by at least $2.1 billion annually (more when ethanol usage expands). In addition, the bill would:
Restore interest collected on surpluses in both the Highway and the Mass Transit accounts.
Extend basic highway user taxes so that they do not expire.
Establish a commission to review future financing of federal highway and transit programs.