Bennet, Udall Call for Quick Passage of Bill to Sustain Highway Trust Fund

Bill Includes Bennet-Udall Measure to Help Improve Rural Water Infrastructure

Bennet’s Proposal to Treat LNG Equally to Diesel Fuel also in Bill 

Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall today called on the Senate to quickly pass a bill to sustain the Highway Trust Fund into early 2015. If Congress doesn’t act, the trust fund is expected to run out of funds in the coming weeks and would result in pro-rated payments to states for highway and transit projects. This could halt or delay construction projects throughout the state that are on tight timelines to be completed before winter weather returns.

“The sad reality is that we are living in a time when we don’t have the decency to maintain the assets that our parents and grandparents built for us, much less build the infrastructure our children are going to need in the 21st century,” Bennet said. “This isn’t a new problem, but it’s one we need to find a long-term solution for, or we are going to find ourselves woefully unprepared to compete in the 21st century economy. While short-term extensions are no way to govern, we can’t afford to let the trust fund expire. Congress should quickly pass this bill and use this time to put together a long-term package that will keep the trust fund solvent for the foreseeable future.”

“An insolvent Highway Trust Fund has grave consequences for Coloradans — from the 2,500 middle-class jobs that could be lost next year to delayed fixes for our roads, bridges, highways and public transportation systems. Congress has a duty to ensure funding for the Highway Trust Fund remains adequate to keep the promises and obligations we’ve made to the state and cities to maintain economically critical transportation arteries in Colorado,” Udall said. “Our nation's roads, bridges and highways — and the Coloradans who rely on them to support our economy — can't afford further congressional inaction.”

During the Senate Finance Committee’s consideration of the package, Bennet secured a bipartisan bill cosponsored by Udall that would reform outdated tax provisions that hinder ditch and irrigation companies’ ability to invest in in their infrastructure and serve Colorado farmers. Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) is also a cosponsor.

Bennet also secured a bipartisan proposal he introduced with Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) to allow liquefied natural gas (LNG) to compete fairly with diesel fuel. It would require that LNG be taxed on energy output rather than per gallon.