This summer, Congress’s means to provide federal funding for transportation projects, better known as the Highway Trust Fund, is expected to become insolvent. This has the potential to create major issues in the future.
The Highway Trust Find was created in 1956 to build an Interstate Highway System, and it’s still providing up to 45% of the funds that state Department of Transportations spend on transit projects today.
Starting in July, the Highway Account of the Highway Trust Fund is projected to run out of funds for new endeavors. The shortfall of these accounts for 2015-2024 is over $170 billion. The Congressional Budget Office has predicted that federal surface transportation investments would have to be cut by 92% in 2014 to prevent insolvency.
The Highway Trust Fund is paid for by federal fuel taxes, which have not increased in over 20 years. As we all know, the cost of most items have at least doubled (in some cases, tripled) during that timeframe – meaning the cost of repairs is now much greater than the tax budget that’s been set to fund construction.
Many infrastructure projects are slowing, even stopping, already due to the uncertainty of the future of the Highway Trust Fund. This looming issue threatens to send shockwaves through the already unstable economy.
To make matters worse, necessary repairs will only become more expensive to make as the projects are prolonged, and roadways receive more wear and tear. It’s no secret that there are over 63,000 deteriorating bridges in the United States, which will only continue to worsen as they’re traveled by 250 million vehicles each day.
Without swift action from Congress, federal funding for highway programs could potentially drop by up to 100%.
As it stands, it’s believed by many that the only way to save the Highway Trust Fund is to raise fuel taxes to accommodate the inflation of everything else.
– Could you imagine the impact that an insolvent Highway Trust Fund could have on the trucking industry, our economy as a whole, and how quickly our roadways will become dangerous?
ASCE Roundup is urging citizens to demand that Congress act now by hashtagging #FixTheTrustFund and pointing out these issues via social media. What do you think, will spreading the word help, or does larger action need to be taken to solve this issue?