Himes backs transportation funding bill as federal program runs out of money

Congressman Jim Himes, who represents a part of Shelton, voted for legislation to replenish the federal Highway Trust Fund through May 2015.

The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives passed the temporary measure, which now moves on to the Democratic-controlled Senate, as the two political parties bicker over how to fund the transpiration program on a long-term basis.

“The Highway Trust Fund is absolutely essential to southwest Connecticut’s transit projects and economy, and allowing it to run dry is simply not an option,” said Himes, a three-term Democrat whose district includes most of Fairfield County.

“This legislation will protect hundreds of thousands of jobs nationwide and critical transportation projects in our region, but we must do better,” he said. “I will continue pushing for long-term investments to address our nation’s critical need to build a 21st century transportation infrastructure that creates jobs and helps our businesses compete in the global economy.“

Fund is running out of money

The U.S. Department of Transportation has indicated that the Highway Trust Fund will fall below a sustainable level on Aug. 1, which some say could put up to 700,000 jobs at risk, unless Congress acts.

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, has proposed raising the federal gas tax by 12 cents over the next two years as a way to replenish the Highway Trust Fund.