Federal Highway Trust Fund Hits Pothole

Wall Street Journal: “With money running low in the Highway Trust Fund, the main source of federal cash to build and maintain roads and transit systems, the Transportation Department has indicated it may need to delay reimbursing states for construction costs starting this summer unless Congress moves to replenish the account. While lawmakers almost universally agree the federal government should play a role in keeping the highway system funded, there is no consensus on how to do that.”

“In the absence of congressional action, the balance in the trust fund’s highway account will fall to $2 billion by Sept. 30, and its mass-transit account to only $1 billion.”

“That would force the Transportation Department to start delaying payments to states as soon as August to keep the accounts’ balances above zero, as required by law.”

The delay could cost up to 700,000 jobs immediately.

“Currently, most of the trust fund’s revenue comes from the 18.4-cents-per- gallon tax on gasoline and the 24.4-cents-per-gallon tax on diesel fuel. While those levels haven’t been raised since 1993, many House Republicans have said they don’t want to increase the taxes.”

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