Scorekeepers say highway fund will go broke in 2013

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | Wednesday, February 01, 2012

The Congressional Budget Office says the Highway Trust Fund will be broke sometime in 2013 without a legislative change to revenue and/or spending.

In a report titled The Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2012 to 2022, budget office scorekeepers tracked a number of accounts. Three that could go broke during the projected time frame are the Highway Trust Fund, Social Security and Medicare.

Even with economic recovery anticipated to bring more money into the Highway Trust Fund, the estimated balance will drop from $22 billion in 2011 to $12 billion in 2012. By 2013, the balance will drop to $3 billion and eventually zero sometime that year according to the report.

The Highway Trust Fund has been there before. The Congressional Budget Office noted that Congress made transfers of $35 billion from General Treasury funds to the highway trust from 2008 to 2010.

Fuel taxes and other fees paid into the Highway Trust Fund bring in approximately $100 million per day. Revenue for 2012 is projected at $36 billion according to CBO scorekeepers.

Spending, which is necessary to build and maintain highway systems, will outpace revenue during the next few years, CBO stated, eventually leading to a zero balance.

Congress is considering a new highway policy in the form of multi-year surface transportation legislation. So far, House Republican and Senate Democrat majorities differ on how to plug the funding shortfall in their respective versions of the bill.

See more of Land Line’s coverage of the highway bill at landlinemag.com.

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