(By Senators Ross, Anderson, Helmick, Bailey, Jackson, Sharpe, Schoonover, Love, Ball, Minear, Scott, McKenzie, Oliverio, Hunter, Snyder, Walker, Dittmar, Fanning, Kessler, White, Bowman, Craigo, Wooton, Plymale, Sprouse, Boley, Dugan, Deem, Tomblin, Mr. President, and Chafin)

Requesting the Congress of the United States to reauthorize the federal highway program by May 1, 1998.

Whereas, A safe and efficient highway system is essential to the nation's international competitiveness, key to domestic productivity and vital to our quality of life; and
Whereas, West Virginia has critical highway investment needs that cannot be addressed with current financial resources. The Federal Highway Administration rates many of West Virginia's roads in either poor or mediocre condition and judges many of our bridges to be deficient; and
Whereas, The current level of federal funding for the nation's highway system is inadequate to meet rehabilitation needs, to protect the safety of the traveling public, to begin solving congestion and rural access problems, to conduct adequate transportation research and to keep the United States competitive in a global economy; and
Whereas, The federal highway program is financed by dedicated user fees collected from motorists to improve the highway system and deposited in the Federal Highway Trust Fund. The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 transferred all federal motor fuel taxes into the Highway Trust Fund but provided no mechanism to ensure the funds are spent; and
Whereas, The 1998 congressional budget would constrain federal highway spending well below the level of highway tax receipts, allow the Highway Trust Fund's cash balance to grow from just over twenty-two billion dollars today to more than seventy billion by the year 2003; and
Whereas, West Virginia and other states will be prohibited from obligating any federal highway funds after April 30, 1998, unless the Congress and the President enact new highway legislation by that date; and
Whereas, Without federal highway funds, many states will be forced to delay life-saving safety improvements, congestion relief projects and other road and bridge improvements; therefore, be it
Resolved by the West Virginia Legislature:
That the Legislature hereby requests the Congress of the United States to enact legislation reauthorizing the federal highway program by May 1, 1998, in order to assist West Virginia and other states whicho will be forced to delay life-saving safety improvements, relief projects and road and bridge improvements; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the reauthorization bill should fund the federal highway program at the highest level that the user- financed Highway Trust Fund will support; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the Clerk of the Senate is hereby directed to forward a copy of this resolution to the United States House of Representatives, the United States Senate and the President of the United States.