The Transportation fairy died years ago. As this article points out… Fuel tax is unchanged since 1993… inflation has cut the purchasing power of that 18.4 cents per gallon… construction costs have gone up… vehicles including trucks are more fuel efficient thus traveling more miles on that 18.4 cents per gallon… What the article does not say is… the fuel tax is now used for expanded purposes including transit and high speed rail. The choice was simple… decrease federal transportation funding by 30% or find other funds to stay even with current funding… while usage of the transportation system increases. Votes against the transportation bill are being described as a vote against the use of general fund revenue... but, unless you are supporting increased user fees, i.e. fuel taxes or another user based fee, for transportation, you are voting to decrease transportation funding by 30%.
The approved transportation bill did some worthy things… streamlined regulations… reduced the number of program categories… gave more flexibility to states… but, did not solve the transportation needs of this country. That will affect the costs of goods in the United States for years to come.
The Highway Trust Fund was designed to pay for roads with fees from their users, in the form of a tax on every gallon of motor fuel. The current tax of 18.4 cents took effect in 1993 and has lost a third of its spending power since then. Construction costs have gone up, cars have become more fuel efficient, and rising gasoline prices and a weak economy have led Americans to cut back on driving. In short, there's less money for road construction and maintenance under the current structure.
Click here for complete article > Denver Post
July 3, 2012
Last week, lawmakers in Congress approved a bill that keeps highway and transit spending at current levels for the next two years, but there was a catch: They came up nearly $20 billion short.
Rather than cut spending or raise taxes to make up the difference, they tapped the U.S. Treasury, something they had done three times already…