Senate Passes Highway Trust Fund Bill with Bennet-Udall Measures

Includes Bennet-Udall Bill to Help Improve Rural Water Infrastructure 

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

Calls on House to Adopt these Important Reforms

The U.S. Senate today passed a bill to sustain the Highway Trust Fund into early 2015. The Preserving America’s Transit and Highways (PATH) Act  includes two measures Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet secured to conserve energy, strengthen our economy, and maintain and improve rural water infrastructure.

Bennet, chairman of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Energy, secured his bipartisan proposal 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 amendment was cosponsored by Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT).

The bill also includes the Bennet-Udall bipartisan proposal to reform outdated tax provisions that hinder ditch and irrigation companies’ ability to invest in in their infrastructure and serve Colorado farmers.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.

“While this stopgap measure maintains funding for a few more months, it should serve as another wake-up call that we can’t keep jumping from one manufactured crisis to another,” Bennet said. “It’s a sad reality that we live 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 kids are going to need to be successful in the 21st century. We need a long-term solution for what has become a long-term problem, or future generations will struggle to compete in the global economy.”

“That said, this bill is important not only to help complete crucial construction projects throughout Colorado, but also for the provisions we included to help promote cleaner energy fuels and to update tax provisions that have hindered investment in rural water infrastructure. It will help boost the potential for LNG as a cheaper, cleaner, domestic energy source, and it will provide needed relief to Colorado’s ditch and irrigation companies that are important to our agriculture industry. Although the House of Representatives did not include these provisions in its version of the bill, they are important priorities for Colorado and the House should move quickly to adopt them.” Bennet added.

Congress must pass legislation to maintain the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund or payments for highway and transit programs will be cut dramatically beginning next month. The PATH Act would help prevent any interruption of crucial construction projects throughout Colorado that are on tight timelines to be completed before winter weather returns.