Dear Chairman Camp,
At the beginning of this year, we sent the attached letter requesting that you hold hearings on the Federal Highway Trust Fund program. It was our hope at that time that the Members of this Committee work together, in a bipartisan manner, to find solutions to our nation's infrastructure needs. In fact, when the issue of holding a hearing on transportation issues was raised again before the Committee on March 6th, you responded, "I know we're looking and working with you on maybe trying to do something in that vein in the near future." Since your statement before the Committee, we have received no response from you.
In our letter, we noted that our transportation programs would likely notice a drop in funding by the summer when the proceeds of the Highway Trust Fund would fall below $4 billion, which is the minimum amount necessary to maintain a sufficient balance to meet week-to-week obligations. We now know, through the Congressional Budget Office's recent estimates of the Highway Trust Fund, that the Fund will fall below the $4 billion critical funding point in mid-July, and, just weeks later, run out of funds entirely absent any Congressional action. We are rapidly approaching a crisis.
The Highway Trust Fund falls within this Committee's jurisdiction. Failure to adequately fund the Highway Trust fund would affect hundreds of thousands of American jobs and severely impact the flow of commerce in our country. It is the responsibility of this Committee to ensure that the Highway Trust Fund is adequate to meet our critical infrastructure needs.
Today, you issued a press statement announcing your intention that this Committee will act in early July. We believe that working together to develop bipartisan legislation when the Committee acts in July will ensure the strongest solutions to the Highway Trust Fund's imminent short-term funding needs. Furthermore, given the strong bipartisan interest in the issue, we renew our request for the Committee to schedule a hearing on the long-term needs of the Highway Trust Fund in the very near future. We prefer that this Committee schedule a hearing rather than having to create a separate forum to educate our Members and the public on the many issues involved. If you do not wish to hold such a hearing before the August recess, we request access to the main Committee room to schedule a hearing to fully brief Congressional Members, stakeholders, and the public on this issue.
Charles B. Rangel
John B. Larson
Danny K. Davis