House Highways and Transit Subcommittee July 16 examined funding
options for the Highway Trust Fund in preparation for the reauthorization
of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA 21)
see clear signs that the federal Highway Trust Fund - the basic
financial cornerstone of our infrastructure network - is at risk,"
said Ohio Gov. Bob Taft. Fifty percent of Ohio's interstate highways
need to be re-engineered and rebuilt, he said.
(R-WI), subcommittee chairman: "Taxes collected from gasoline,
diesel, and truck-related sales are the major sources of revenue
- 88 percent - for the federal share of transportation infrastructure
projects. The collection of fuel taxes will continue to finance
highways and transit for some years to come.
the combination of factors such as special tax breaks for alternative
fuels, technological advancements in the efficiency of car and
truck engines, and future fleet introduction of fuel cells and
electric or hybrid cars, all make it imperative that we begin
now to explore new ideas on how to continue the financing of highways
and transit systems."
outlined various ways to strengthen the fund: The American Road
& Transportation Builders Association recommended a 2 cents
per-gallon annual fuel tax increase through the life of the TEA
21 reauthorization legislation to catch up with rising costs since
the last user fee increase.
the creation of a Transportation Finance Corporation - independent
of the federal government - tasked with getting greater value
from the investment of highway improvement dollars.
director of the Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association,
wants to index the motor fuel tax to the Consumer Price Index.
According to Walker, this will allow the federal aid highway program
to keep pace with inflation and provide a more reliable source
of funding to states.
of the University of Iowa discussed research into a new user fee
collection system designed to more accurately account for all
relevant factors regarding a user's actual impact on the highway
system. Kuhl suggested such a system would more equitably charge
motorists for their use of highways, regardless of the type of
vehicle propulsion used.