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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

AASHTO: Highway Trust Fund still needs long-term funding source

The Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials' (AASHTO) board has advised Congress and the incoming Donald Trump administration that the Highway Trust Fund will soon be in "crisis mode" unless lawmakers provide a long-term funding source for it.

At the association's annual meeting last week, chief executives of state departments of transportation discussed the potential for President-elect Trump to follow up on his campaign pledge to send Congress a major infrastructure plan, according to the AASHTO Journal.

The board approved a resolution that offered the expertise of AASHTO's members to the new administration as it develops infrastructure improvement initiatives.

The board also adopted a resolution that spelled out a longer-term need to fix the trust fund.

"Any responsible new infrastructure funding proposal needs to take into consideration and address the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund and maintain the historic 80/20 split of revenues between the Highway Account and the Mass Transit Account," it said.

Some conservative organizations have continued to urge Congress to remove transit funding from the Highway Trust Fund, AASHTO officials noted.

AASHTO also noted that last year's FAST Act provided a temporary five-year funding boost by transferring $70 billion into the trust fund from the federal general fund, with most of that drawn from a Federal Reserve surplus.

After the FAST Act runs out in 2020, the trust fund faces an annual funding gap of $20 billion between its annual spending levels and what it takes in through dedicated user taxes on gasoline, diesel, other motor fuels and truck equipment, according to AASHTO.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/23/2016