CBO Says Highway Fund Will Be in Shortfall Under Obama’s Transportation Plan

The federal Highway Trust Fund will have “insufficient revenues to meet obligations” beginning in fiscal 2015, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s latest estimate of the president’s budget proposal.

The budget agency said April 17 that the Obama administration “does not provide enough details” about its proposal, specifically the tax changes that it calls for to generate revenue.

The administration is asking Congress to approve a four-year, $302 billion surface transportation bill to boost funding for current road and transit programs. Under the plan, most surface transportation programs would become mandatory with funding provided through a transportation trust fund.

According to the administration, revenue would be generated by addressing untaxed foreign earnings accumulated overseas and modifying accelerated depreciation. The trust fund could benefit from that revenue.

The Department of Transportation said earlier this week that the Highway Trust Fund was in danger of running out of available cash by August. The fund helps states pay for infrastructure projects and for years lawmakers have scrambled to find ways to keep the fund solvent.

Democrats for the most part support the president’s funding proposal, and key Republicans say they would prefer to fund aspects of the transportation system through public-private partnerships.

Several transportation experts argue that lawmakers could address the fund’s shortfall by cutting spending, boosting revenues or approving a combination of both.



By Eugene Mulero
Staff Reporter