Shorting the Highway Trust Fund

Jun 30, 2008

There was a good editorial in Colorado last month about the shortfall in the Federal Highway Trust Fund and one today in Kansas.  They read pretty similar; why? because nothing is being done to address this critical issue.  As reported by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), Congress last week failed:

to fix a 3.3 billion dollar deficit in the Highway Trust Fund.

The House and Senate dropped a provision from a three-month aviation tax extension bill that would have provided $8 billion to keep the nation’s transportation account solvent.
AASHTO Executive Director John Horsley expressed his strong disappointment saying, “If members of Congress believe that this failure to act has no consequences, they’re wrong.”

In February, the Bush administration forecasted that revenues for the Highway Account would fall short of meeting commitments made under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient, and Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) by $3.3 billion during fiscal year 2009. 

Since that forecast was made, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reported that estimated miles traveled on U.S. public roads dropped 11 billion miles between March 2007 and March 2008, the first year-to-year reduction since 1979. As Americans drive less and purchase less fuel, the Highway Trust Fund’s shortfall will continue to worsen. The latest Treasury department revenue estimates of monthly receipts show a further erosion of $2 billion from original projections.

Because of the way the Highway Trust Fund pays out, the revenue shortfall could lead to federal funding cuts of approximately 34 percent for our state highway programs.

Every aspect of our economy is dependent on a strong, safe and efficient infrastructure; our leaders need to take action to keep America moving. Write your members of Congress today.

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