Congress Must Figure Out Infrastructure Funding

In an article at ForConstructionPROS.com, American Association of State & Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) advocated that Congress must find different avenues of funding options for infrastructure meant for the short- and long-term to help move projects along.

“Projects that state DOTs undertake connect people, enhance the quality of life for our citizens, and – just as important – stimulate economic growth in each community where they are built,”  Victoria Sheehan, commissioner for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation and AASHTO president said. “However, the current trajectory of the HTF (Highway Trust Fund) – the backbone of the federal surface transportation program – is simply unsustainable as it will have insufficient resources to meet current federal investment levels beyond fiscal year 2021.”

For upwards of ten years, the government has been spending more each year from the HTF than how much revenue has been collected for it. Most of those have come from taxes on diesel fuel and gasoline, in addition to taxes on heavy trucks. While vehicles became more sustainable and fuel efficient, tax revenues were never raised and more electric vehicles have turned up, which would lessen the potential of this funding method.

“Currently, users impose many costs that they do not pay for, including wear and tear on roads and bridges; delays caused by traffic congestion; injuries, fatalities, and property damage from accidents; and harmful effects from exhaust emissions,” he said. “A combination of taxes on fuel and mileage that made users pay for more of the costs they impose would make use of the system more efficient.”

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