News bits: Foxx says ‘get past gimmicks’ for finding transportation funding

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U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Tuesday we need to “get past gimmicks” to find a solution to the soon-to-expire Highway Trust Fund.

The gimmick Foxx was referring to was a proposal from a House Republican to eliminate Saturday postal service to boost the Highway Trust Fund.

“I grew up in an America that played to win. Not an America that played not to lose,” said Foxx, who met earlier Tuesday behind closed doors with House Democrats on Capitol Hill. He described the GOP’s postal-cuts idea as, at best, a one-year patch to replenish the Highway Trust Fund—not “a real solution” to stabilize funding for highways, bridges, and transit and rail systems.

Foxx pointed out that the administration has put forth a longer-range alternative. It has proposed a $302 billion, four-year transportation reauthorization plan, known as the Grow America Act. But the administration’s proposal is funded by supplementing current revenues like the gas tax with $150 billion in onetime “transition” revenue in the form of a “pro-growth business tax “reform”—a tough sell to congressional Republicans.

One surprising supporter of the idea to axe Saturday postal service to help the highway fund is the United States Postal Service.

“We not only need five-day delivery,” Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said in a Washington Post interview. “But I would say, if this was able to help take the angst out of the [broader postal] legislation for some lawmakers, that would help us out.”

Foxx has continually argued against one- or two-year “band aids” for the fund, which is set to be depleted in August potentially halting many summer transportation projects.

Foxx to Congress: ‘Get Serious’ on Highway Funding [National Journal]
USPS supports five-day delivery swap with highway fund boost [Washington Post]

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