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TRANSPORTATION BUILDERS CLAIM VICTORY ON SENATE GAS TAX VOTE

 WASHINGTON, June 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Road & Transportation Builders Association achieved a major legislative victory last night when the U.S. Senate voted 66-32 to place all revenue resulting from a proposed 4.3 cents-per-gallon federal motor fuels tax increase in the Highway Trust Fund.
 The action occurred as the Senate deliberated on the budget reconciliation bill that will implement President Clinton's economic program. The legislation as referred to the full Senate by the Finance Committee would have placed the new gas tax revenue in the government's general fund for deficit reduction. Sen. Hank Brown (R-Colo.) offered the successful amendment.
 ARTBA proposed in a May 13 letter to President Clinton that any revenue generated by a petroleum energy tax -- if such a tax was necessary -- be placed in the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) for future transportation investment.
 "By earmarking this revenue for the HTF," ARTBA President Pete Ruane wrote Clinton, "Under the Unified Budget it would count now for deficit reduction." Ruane suggested, however, that the new HTF resources could be released for meeting transportation capital needs coincident with the next re-authorization of the federal surface transportation programs.
 Such an approach, the ARTBA executive said, "could be tied to implementing a capital budget for the federal government."
 The ARTBA initiative was discussed June 14 in an ARTBA meeting with Sen. John Breaux (D-La.), sponsor of the Senate's proposed transportation tax and in subsequent meetings with other key senators and House transportation leaders.
 For the past two weeks as the Senate worked on the reconciliation bill, ARTBA mounted an aggressive advertising campaign in the Washington market on the motor fuels tax issue. The association ran a 30-second radio spot repeatedly during morning drive time on two popular radio stations and during the nationally syndicated radio talk show hosted by G. Gordon Liddy. The ad drew attention to the reason there is a federal gas tax in the first place -- to finance much needed highway, bridge and mass transit capital improvements.
 The ARTBA radio spots were complemented by three full-page ads in the widely-read Capitol Hill newspaper, Roll Call, that carried the same theme. The print ads, headlined "Let's Not Forget Why We Have the Gas Tax," outlined the nation's highway and bridge capital needs and investment requirements as reported earlier this year by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
 The reconciliation legislation now goes to a House/Senate conference committee that will iron out differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget bill. The House legislation does not contain a proposed motor fuels tax. It proposes instead to raise revenue for deficit reduction through imposition of a tax on many energy sources that is based on heat content as measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs).
 Immediately following last November's elections, ARTBA initiated an educational campaign -- "Transportation Makes America Work" -- targeted at all new members of Congress, their staff, and key players in the incoming administration. The association's campaign goal was to have personal briefings with these individuals during 1993 to review DOT's transportation infrastructure capital needs and investment reports and discuss funding issues. The activity has included an extensive May 12 conversation with President Clinton at the White House regarding highway issues.
 Last December, ARTBA went outside of Washington in an attempt to help frame national economic policy debate. The association ran a full- page ad in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on transportation's importance to the nation's economy. The ad appeared on the opening day of President-elect Clinton's economic summit in Little Rock, Ark. The ARTBA newspaper ad was supported with a 60-second radio spot that ran 84 times during the week of the summit on Little Rock's all-news station.
 The American Road & Transportation Builders Association is a Washington-based federation of public and private organizations and firms involved in transportation development.
 -0- 6/25/93
 /CONTACT: William D. Toohey Jr. of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, 202-488-2722 or, aftter hours, 301-926-3620/


CO: American Road & Transportation Builders Association ST: District of Columbia IN: OIL AUT TRN SU: LEG

DC-IH -- DC036 -- 5926 06/25/93 18:05 EDT
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Date:Jun 25, 1993
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