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Transportation Funding

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 governmentmay not be able to meet its commitments to states for road projectsalready under way, the secretary of transportation said Monday.

Thesecretary, Mary E. Peters, said the short-term solution would be forthe Highway Trust Fund’s highway account to borrow money from thefund’s mass transit account, a step that would balance the accounts ashighway 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.

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