The U.S. Wants to “Borrow” From Transit to Pay for Highways

Like a burned-out addict stealing to support a meth habit, U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said yesterday that due to declining gas tax revenues, the Highway Trust Fund would need to borrow money from its mass transit account to pay for road projects. Today’s big news story was buried at the bottom of page A17 in the New York Times:

Gasoline tax revenue is falling so fast that the federal government
may not be able to meet its commitments to states for road projects
already under way, the secretary of transportation said Monday.

The
secretary, Mary E. Peters, said the short-term solution would be for
the Highway Trust Fund’s highway account to borrow money from the
fund’s mass transit account, a step that would balance the accounts as
highway travel declines and use of mass transit increases.

Meanwhile, America’s historically underfunded transit systems are also struggling with rising fuel prices and record demand. No word yet on how taking money away from transit to pay for highways fits in to George W. Bush’s plan to end America’s oil addiction.

  • 2 and a half years ago the L.A. City Council Chief Legislative Analyst’s office in a report outlined this looming crisis (click the link to read the report, posted on the SO.CA.TA website). Repeated reports and testimony at Committee hearings by the Congressional Budget Office did likewise. The Congress and federal bureaucrats did nothing. And sadly still seem in denial about the need for new revenue.

    http://www.socata.net/gm/archives/00000017.shtml

  • Wha?! Need for new revenue … for more highways?

    As demand drops off for private automobile travel, we are going to look for ways to subsidize this mode even more? I thought cars were all about “the market” and “freedom” – this highway funding scheme sounds an awful lot like welfare for those who can still afford to drive.

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