Federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF)

In response to an excerpt from September's TransDigest published by the Transportation & Logistics Council, Inc.

Doesn't the recent $8 billion given by President Bush seem like another example of a temporary fix to our economic issues? I think we can all agree that our infrastructure here in the United States needs a lot of attention. Drivers on the road every day know how congested areas are, as well as the condition of the roads in many parts of the country. How does this example of legislation putting a band aid on the funding issue affect your decisions as a voter, or does it? Is anyone else surprised that the taxes on gasoline went to fund the HTF in the first place?


HIGHWAY FUNDING
“The downturn in the economy and high fuel prices have created a crisis in funding for highway maintenance and improvements. The federal Highway Trust Fund (“HTF”) gets its revenues from gas taxes, taxes that are a fixed amount per gallon. With a significant decrease in vehicle miles traveled, some 50 billion over the past eight months, gas consumption has decreased, thus reducing the tax revenue.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (“DOT”) determined that it needed an $8 billion infusion to keep the HTF solvent. In a reversal of policy, President Bush signed legislation transferring the needed $8 billion from the General Fund into the HTF. Funds from the HTF are used to fund transportation projects across the nation and states rely on these funds being paid on a regular basis in order to keep projects on track. While this transfer will keep the HTF from becoming insolvent, it does not resolve the basic funding issue and alternatives must be found.”