The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Monday, 17 March 2014 12:08cat

Highway Trust Fund Budget Issues Could Delay Summer Projects

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The Highway Trust Fund could be bankrupt by 2015 The Highway Trust Fund could be bankrupt by 2015 Robert Jack

United States transit officials warned lawmakers last week that the lack of funding for the Highway Trust Fund and threat of insolvency by 2015 could delay many summer infrastructure projects. The transit officials would like Congress to quickly approve billions of dollars in new funding to avoid these costly delays. If the Highway Trust Fund does not receive additional funds, hundreds of thousands of jobs could be affected and the current project backlog will significantly increase.

The Highway Trust Fund receives its funding through a federal gas tax that taxes every gallon of both gasoline and diesel fuel sold in the United States. The Government receives 18.4 cents per gallon of gasoline and 24.4 cents per gallon on diesel fuel, and this revenue is allocated to the Highway Trust Fund to spend on transportation projects. The tax was last raised in 1993. While some cite the increased fuel economy in cars over the last two decades as a reason to increase the tax, United States President Barack Obama has looked towards other ways to bridge the funding gap for the Highway Trust Fund. President Obama would prefer to provide more funding by ending certain tax breaks for small businesses. He also recently announced his 2015 budget proposal that would provide $302 billion to the Highway Trust Fund over the next several years.

If the temporary funding patch that was passed in 2012 is allowed to expire on September 30, lawmakers fear that the U.S. economy would be significantly affected, as many expensive summer projects would be delayed. The highway portion of the Highway Trust Fund could fall below $4 billion by July and the transit segment could fall below $1 billion in August. States are being warned by transit officials that reimbursements for highway projects could be delayed if new funding is not provided.

Sources: Executive GovReuters

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