Finance Committee Approves Highway Trust Fund Bill with Bennet-Udall Measures

Includes Bennet’s Bill to Treat LNG Equally to Diesel Fuel 

Also Contains Bennet-Udall Bill to Help Improve Rural Water Infrastructure

The Senate Finance Committee today approved a bill to sustain the Highway Trust Fund into early 2015. It includes two measures Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet secured to conserve energy, strengthen our economy, and maintain and improve rural water infrastructure.

The Preserving America’s Transit and Highways (PATH) Act now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

During consideration of the bill, the committee adopted a bipartisan proposal introduced by Bennet, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), and Senator 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.

The bill also includes Bennet’s bipartisan proposal to reform outdated tax provisions that hinder ditch and irrigation companies’ ability to invest in in their infrastructure and serve Colorado farmers. Bennet previously introduced this proposal as a standalone bill with Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID). Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) is a cosponsor.

“We need a long-term solution to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent to maintain our roads, bridges, and transit systems,” Bennet said. “Short-term extensions like these are no way to govern, and we should not allow them to continue to be routine as they have in the past. Congress should take this time to put together a long-term package to provide certainty to state and local officials.

“That said, this bill does include some provisions that are important to Colorado, including crucial reforms to help promote cleaner energy fuels and to update tax provisions that have hindered investment in rural water infrastructure. LNG has huge potential as a cheaper, cleaner, domestic energy source, and we need to ensure our tax system is not putting it at a disadvantage. Additionally, the bill will provide needed relief to Colorado’s ditch and irrigation companies that are so important to farmers across the West,” Bennet added.