Click here or on the image above to watch Ranking Member Capito’s questions.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today questioned witnesses in a hearing entitled, “Long-term Solvency of the Highway Trust Fund: Lessons Learned from the Surface Transportation System Funding Alternatives Program and Other User-based Revenue Solutions, and How Funding Uncertainty Affects the Highway Programs.”
ON VEHICLE MILES TRAVELED (VMT) OPTION: “You mentioned that if the VMT was put into effect at one cent per mile [on commercial trucks], it would generate $2.6 billion. But previously you had mentioned the shortfall [of the Highway Trust Fund] is $195 billion. So we’ve got a big gap here. I guess my question is—back to Mr. Shenkle—in some of the states’ pilot studies, is one cent per mile a marker that’s been used for success here? Because it’s not going to generate enough to hit our shortfall at all.”
BIPARTISAN INTEREST IN FINDING NEW REVENUES: “It’s been really interesting to see how innovative states have been through pilot projects with road user fees or mileage-based user fees. And I think that this is something that it seems like we have bipartisan, very large interest in. It’s something we ought to really consider as we’re moving forward, and I’m encouraged by that.”
MIXED SIGNALS FROM THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION: “I’m a little puzzled because I think the Secretary of Transportation in his public statements has not only removed a gas tax increase from a possible revenue source but also the vehicle miles traveled (VMT) idea concept—they kind of took that off the table rather rapidly, which I was sort of surprised about. We’ll have to circle back with that.”
ON PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS: “One of the things that I think we don’t talk enough about—and obviously what we’re looking here for is enough revenues to meet our needs and to meet not just the needs now but the needs of the future…you talked about public-private partnerships, and some of that was tolling. We know tolling is very unpopular in a lot of areas of all of our states. It’s difficult for state leaders to move forward. How else can we bring the private sector into this? Obviously they’re the beneficiary—whether you’re a car manufacturer, tire manufacturer, refinery, all kinds of different electrical and technical parts of an automobile or truck. How else can we bring the private sector dollars into this to help us match our public dollar investment?
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