Maverick CEO Meets With VP Biden To Discuss Highway Funding

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 93 views 

An Arkansas trucking executive met with Vice President Joe Biden today to discuss national transportation infrastructure concerns.

Steve Williams, Chairman and CEO of Little Rock-based Maverick USA, was part of a White House Business Council discussion on how to address uncertainty regarding the nation’s Highway Trust Fund and other transportation issues.

The meeting was put together by Business Forward, a national organization that frequently briefs the President’s economic advisors.

The Highway Trust Fund’s looming insolvency has become a major debate in Washington as some projections predict by August 1, 2014 that money could run out for federal government transportation spending authority.

Cong. Tim Griffin, R-Arkansas, told Talk Business & Politics on Tuesday that a bill being pushed by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Michigan, had a good chance for quick passage in committee and in both houses of Congress.

The bill would provide additional highway money in three ways.

A pension smoothing provision would raise $6.4 billion by allowing employers to delay contributing to pension plans, thus raising their taxable incomes. An increase in customs user fees at ports would raise $3.5 billion. Another would transfer $1 billion funded by fuel taxes to highways from the Leaking Underground Storage Tanks account

“This one is drafted to pass, not to make a point,” said Griffin, who sits on the House Ways and Means Committee. He said that the plan is not the long-term fix needed to address highway needs, but, “It looks like it’s responsible, and it looks like it does what it needs to do.”

Williams said his message to the Vice-president on Wednesday is that a long-term, non-partisan solution is needed to address highway and transportation needs.

“The implications of an insolvent Highway Trust Fund should be obvious to all Americans and that’s why Congress must take action,” said Williams. “Failing to agree on a long-term, apolitical strategy to fund our infrastructure will have a deleterious effect on highway safety, the environment and our nation’s economic well being.”