Eno Transportation Weekly | Jeff Davis |
September 5, 2018
Ten years ago today, the U.S. Department of Transportation made the stunning announcement that the federal Highway Trust Fund had run out of money and that state governments would no longer be guaranteed speedy reimbursement for the federal-aid highway expenses that the states had already incurred. The announcement prompted an immediate $8 billion bailout by Congress in the form of a transfer of moneys from the general fund of the Treasury to the Trust Fund.
In the decade since then, rather than put the Trust Fund back in a position where its spending levels more or less equal its dedicated excise tax receipt levels from year to year, Congress has instead provided another $135.6 billion in bailouts, for a total of $143.6 billion ($139.9 billion from the general fund and $3.7 billion from gasoline and diesel taxes originally deposited in a different trust fund).
How did the venerable Highway Trust Fund – the financial instrument that built the Interstate Highway System, which transformed American life – get in such dire straits? And are we any closer to being able to fix it?
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