Federal transportation funding news from Governing.com
The Highway Trust Fund — the primary account used to fund federal spending on roads, highways and transit — is set to go broke over the course of the next two years, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s newest forecast released today.
CBO explains the trust fund’s challenges succinctly:
“Although the number of miles that people drive is projected to increase as the economy grows, CBO expects the effect of that increase on fuel use to be largely offset by improvements in the fuel economy of vehicles, mainly because of increases in the government’s fuel economy standards.”
The trust fund actually has two accounts: one that pays for highways and highway programs, and one that pays for transit.
The new report finds that sometime during 2013, the highway account will no longer be able to meet its obligations. The same will happen to the transit account in 2014.
Meanwhile, work continues in both the House and Senate on a transportation reauthorization bill. The Senate bill provides two years of transportation funds, based upon current motor fuel tax revenue levels. The bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) is summarized here. The competing House bill envisions calls for six years of funding and relies in part on predicted revenues from increased oil and gas exploration. A summary of the House bill, the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act, may be found here.