May 11, 2015

Congress Can Fix the Highway Trust Fund Without Raising the Gas Tax

Tracy C. Miller

Senior Policy Research Editor
Summary

As gas prices have fallen dramatically across the country, congressmen from both sides of the aisle have proposed raising the gas tax to increase funding for America's aging highways and bridges. Maintaining or increasing spending on highways is urgent, given that one-third of the nation's roads may be in poor or mediocre condition while a quarter of its bridges are in need of repair, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

As gas prices have fallen dramatically across the country, congressmen from both sides of the aisle have proposed raising the gas tax to increase funding for America's aging highways and bridges. Maintaining or increasing spending on highways is urgent, given that one-third of the nation's roads may be in poor or mediocre condition while a quarter of its bridges are in need of repair, according to the Federal Highway Administration. To continue to pay its share of highway funding, the federal government has diverted approximately $70 billion from the general fund since 2008.

Given huge federal deficits, the federal government cannot afford to continue doing this. But before resorting to raising the tax burden on the American public, Congress should explore ways it can free up more money for highway projects by reforming federal highway policy.

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