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Eno Transportation Weekly

Category: Highway Trust Fund

Mending or Ending the Highway Trust Fund – the Great Debate of 1978

The Highway Trust Fund ran out of money 10 years ago this month, but this month is also the 40th anniversary of the first attempt by the House transportation committee to “spend down” Trust Fund balances to zero, and of a competing plan to ensure that annual Trust Fund spending commitments could never exceed annual revenues (which would, of course, have prevented the Trust Fund from ever going broke).

An Open Letter to the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform

When looking at budget process reform, remember that through a series of historical accidents, 99 percent of the spending from the Highway Trust Fund is exempt from both statutory systems of budget discipline – the PAYGO process for mandatory spending, and the Budget Control Act spending caps for discretionary spending. Thus, Highway Trust Fund spending is also exempt from sequestration – because sequestration is only a tool used to enforce the statutory systems of budget discipline.

Highway “Devolution” Bill Introduced in Senate (Again)

July 13, 2018 – The latest variant of legislation to turn responsibility for most highway funding back to states, eliminate most federal mass transit spending, and reduce federal gasoline and diesel fuel taxes was introduced in the Senate. S. 3190, the “Transportation Empowerment Act,” was introduced on July 10 by Senators Mike Lee (R-UT), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Marco Rubio (R-FL).

CBO Reports Highway Trust Fund On Schedule For 2021 Default

April 11, 2018 – The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office this week released its annual Budget and Economic Outlook which is accompanied by its initial annual spending and revenue baseline estimates for Congressional committees.

Treasury Reports Trust Funds Outlook – Transit Cuts May Be Necessary in FY20

March 15, 2018 – Last Friday, the Treasury Department released the quarterly Treasury Bulletin, a publication containing a trove of data about all kinds of federal fiscal dealings. The March bulletin of each year is notable because that is the annual issue that contains detailed end-of-year summaries of, and out-year projections for, all federal trust funds.

Speaker Ryan Rejects Talk of Gas Tax Increase

March 9, 2018 – This week, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) threw cold water on discussions of a possible federal motor fuels tax increase to fund Highway Trust Fund solvency and/or an infrastructure initiative.

The Highway Trust Fund Under TEA-21, SAFETEA-LU, MAP-21, and the FAST Act

The following chart shows Highway Trust Fund annual new spending obligation authority granted by Congress (obligation limitations, exempt-from-obligation contract authority, and direct appropriations), net tax receipts, and average annual bailout transfers from the general fund or LUST Trust Fund (starting in 2008), in billions of dollars.

CBO Issues New Baseline w/ Revised HTF Forecast

June 30, 2017 – Yesterday afternoon, the Congressional Budget Office issued its official budget baseline for fiscal 2018, including an updated projection for the fiscal solvency of the Highway Trust Fund.

DeFazio Introduces Gas Tax Indexation Bill

March 23, 2017 – This week, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), the ranking minority member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, introduced a bill to infuse tens of billions of dollars per year into the Highway Trust Fund immediately, to be repaid through annual indexation increases in the federal gasoline and diesel fuel excise taxes.

CBO: Tight Spending Constraints Ahead

January 25, 2017 – Yesterday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released its annual Budget and Economic Outlook, this one covering the ongoing fiscal year (2017) and the ten-year 2018-2027 period.

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