As a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers Wisconsin Section, and a transportation engineer for 45 years, I want to express my vigorous opposition to a proposal that would reduce funding that would help ensure our roads and bridges are safe.
The ASCE Wisconsin section strongly opposes legislation in the Senate introduced by U.S. Sens. Mark Kelly, D-Arizona, and Maggie Hassan, D-New Hampshire, and legislation in the House introduced by Rep. Josh Harder, D-California, to suspend the current 18.4 cents per gallon federal gasoline tax through the end of this year. Even at the same modest figure of 18.4 cents per gallon for 29 years since 1993, the motor fuel tax has represented a dependable, yet underfunded, federal revenue source for communities to fix and modernize their network of roads, bridges and transit systems.
The tax holiday is insignificant to taxpayers, saving less than $2 per week assuming purchasing 10 gallons per week. Inflation of gasoline and food items has been drastically higher in recent months.
Suspending this vital funding source – even for a temporary amount of time – would result in the loss of more than $20 billion from the Highway Trust Fund, HTF. That loss of transportation funding would deal a serious blow to the new bipartisan infrastructure law as Americans are expecting improvements to our nation’s roads, bridges and transit systems that rely on that funding for maintenance and repair.
Wisconsin’s roads received a “D” ranking according to our 2020 report card. This federal legislation would make it even more difficult to repair our roads across the state of Wisconsin and no doubt lead to more failing grades. When it comes to the safety of our roads and bridges and transit, we can do better.
Martin Hanson, ASCE-Wisconsin
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