Recent Press Releases

Thune Comments on Senate Transportation Funding Fix

--Funding Guaranteed for Highway Projects in South Dakota, Other States Immediately--

September 10, 2008

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune today commented on the U.S. Senate's passage of an $8 billion infusion of funding to the Highway Trust Fund. Last week, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation notified Congress that the Highway Trust Fund was expected to experience a funding shortfall that would reduce transportation dollars that are distributed to states due to declining revenues collected from fuel taxes as a result of high gas prices.

"South Dakota and other states were promised funding in the 2005 Transportation bill, but an unexpected shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund created a unique situation that required Congressional action," said Thune. "This fix is necessary to ensure that there is no disruption on construction projects that are already underway or planned across the country. Improving our nation's transportation infrastructure creates jobs and saves lives, so we cannot allow this important work to stop."

In 2005 Senator Thune worked as a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to secure record funding for South Dakota's highway construction needs. Roughly 75 percent of South Dakota's highway construction budget comes from the federal government via the fuel taxes that are collected on each gallon of gasoline and diesel.

Last year, due to concerns about a growing need for infrastructure improvements, Senator Thune joined Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) in introducing the Build America Bonds Act, which would provide $50 billion in funding for transportation construction projects outside of the Highway Trust Fund without raising taxes.

"As fuel costs remain high we can expect Americans to continue conserving fuel and therefore we can expect to see fuel tax revenues decline. This illustrates the need for my bipartisan Build America Bonds proposal, which gives individuals and investors the ability to invest in America's transportation future while receiving tax credits."

The $8 billion measure passed by the Senate will be effective upon approval by the President, guaranteeing the immediate release of funds to states. The House of Representatives will be required to vote on the Senate-passed measure because the bill the House previously approved in July wasn't effective until September 30th. President Bush has indicated that he will sign the bill into law once the measure is presented to him.