CBO Says Proposed Highway Trust Fund Is Insufficient

According to data released from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) last week, the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) would run out of money under President Barack Obama’s proposed $302 billion, four-year highway budget.  

In addition to allocating funds to various transportation sectors, the proposed bill from the president offers a one-time $150 billion cash infusion that the CBO says is simply not enough. 

“Under CBO’s reestimate of the President’s proposals, the highway and transit accounts of the Highway Trust Fund will have insufficient revenues to meet obligations starting in fiscal year 2015,” the CBO notes in its report.

“Some of the taxes that are credited to the Highway Trust Fund are scheduled to expire on September 30, 2016,” the CBO continues. “Those include taxes on certain heavy duty vehicles and tires and all but 4.3 cents of federal taxes levied on fuels. However, under the rules governing baseline projections, these estimates reflect the assumption that all of the expiring taxes credited to the fund continue to be collected.”

The DOT uses the HTF to reimburse state and local agencies for their transportation projects. The report points out that the DOT “needs at least $4 billion in cash balances available in the highway account” to keep up with infrastructure obligations. However, the CBO’s data show that the highway account would start 2015 with a balance of only $1 billion.

This prediction focuses on HTF under President Obama’s proposed budget. It differs from what the DOT released last week, which noted that the HTF will go bankrupt in late August if Congress takes no action in the coming months.

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