The looming highway trust fund crisis: what will Congress do? Finding a path forward

By Evan M Migdail

Congress left for its one-week adjournment for the Independence Day holiday in the midst of intensive negotiations in both chambers to address an impending crisis in the nation’s transportation system. Absent a deal by August, the federal highway trust fund (HTF) will lack sufficient funding to support thousands of road, highway, bridge and other vital transportation maintenance and repair projects.  

The HTF traditionally has been supported by federal fuel excise taxes, but these have fallen short in recent years. The current fiscal year shortfall is estimated at around $10bn (£6bn); it is estimated that over the next six years the shortfall will approach $160bn. 

Because the insolvency of the HTF could adversely affect countless millions of Americans in every state, finding a solution to the crisis is both a high economic and political priority, especially with congressional elections just four-and-a-half months away…

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