Princeton, NJ, May 20, 2015 --(PR.com
)-- NAFA Fleet Management Association expresses dismay over the decision to extend reauthorizaton of highway programs to July, rather than coming together for a lasting resolution. "Doing something about keeping the United States Highway Trust Fund (HTF) solvent was one of the few topics going into 2015 that enjoyed bi-partisan support and interest, and yet road, tunnel, and bridge projects that rely on federal financing are back to waiting in suspense," said NAFA Chief Executive Officer Phillip E. Russo, CAE. "The dysfunction of the legislative body to act has no positive effect on the physics of roads, weather, and the vehicles that traverse them every day, and another short-term fix only leads to the promise of even another short-term fix. Drivers across North America deserve better than this.”
On May 19, the House of Representatives passed the two-month extension on a vote of 387-35. The Senate is expected to pass the latest stopgap measure by the end of the week. Lawmakers will leave the capital this Friday, May 22 for a weeklong Memorial Day recess. Many infrastructure projects are only now beginning, thanks to the expectation of calmer weather than winter and spring months can offer. Without the extension, infrastructure projects around the country requiring federal funding would have slowed or stopped.
Yet the current pattern of prolonging short term fixes for HTF funding, rather than passing a solution with clear, lasting stability, remains stubbornly in place; a position organizations like NAFA find unconscionable. “We are an association of business professionals, in both the fleet management and fleet products and services areas. Our members would not conduct business in the irresponsible manner that the legislative body has up to this point,” said Russo, adding, “and it is doubtful that their employers would allow them to continue without any sense of strategic purpose. This latest deferment is bad for business, period.”
The costs of infrastructure damage and decay are significant to the business world, not only in maintenance and repair costs, but in increased devaluation of vehicles. Further, due to road, bridge, and tunnel closures due to damage, traffic congestion and detours contribute to lost productivity that significantly affect the business world's bottom line. An increase of vehicles stuck in traffic wastes fuel and increases emissions into the atmosphere.
The Highway Trust Fund, as defined, is a transportation fund which receives money from a federal fuel tax of 18.3 cents per gallon on gasoline and 24.4 cents per gallon of diesel fuel and related excise taxes. The money derived from the taxes helps finance improvements to roads, bridges, and tunnels. Due to a polarized legislative body, the fund has lurched from near-insolvency to near-insolvency, with only temporary fixes employed to keep the HTF afloat.
"The notion that there has not been enough time to build consensus is baffling," said Russo. "Congress has had a year to do something substantive about this issue. And before that, the HTF has been riddled with near insolvency crises since 2008. There has been plenty of time. There hasn't been any will. That we are once again looking to a short-term fix should be intolerable and we call upon Congress to adopt something of real and lasting substance and not to turn this latest band-aid measure into prelude for more of the same."
About NAFA Fleet Management Association
NAFA is the world’s premier non-profit association for professionals who manage fleets of sedans, public safety vehicles, trucks, and buses of all types and sizes, and a wide range of military and off-road equipment for organizations across the globe. NAFA is the association for the diverse vehicle fleet management profession regardless of organizational type, geographic location or fleet composition. NAFA’s Full and Associate Members are responsible for the specification, acquisition, maintenance and repair, fueling, risk management, and remarketing of more than 3.5 million vehicles including in excess of 1.1 million trucks of which 350 thousand are medium- and heavy-duty trucks. For more information visit nafa.org.