Chart of the Week – HTF Highway Account Spending Rates

Chart of the Week – HTF Highway Account Spending Rates

August 17, 2018  | Jeff Davis

August 17, 2018

Because August is a really slow month, we were getting caught up on our various database activities and decided to put together a chart visualizing the annual cycle of payments from the Highway Account of the Highway Trust Fund.

In most places in the country, outdoor construction work is still largely seasonal, and the highway construction and maintenance activities start slowing down in October, bottom out in February, and then start picking up in April or May with the spring contract lettings.

The chart below looks at monthly Highway Account outlays for the last ten fiscal years, as reported by DOT in Table FE-1. The thick black line is the current fiscal year, through July 31. Outlays this year in all months have been on the high end of the 10-year lookback, but in no cases are they record-setting.

The outlier of course is the orange line, which is fiscal year 2010, the year that the bulk of the FY 2009 ARRA stimulus spending took place. As the Congressional Budget Office correctly predicted (and the Office of Management and Budget under President Obama denied would happen), states simply did not have enough capacity to spend their regular federal-aid highway funding and the one-time, use-it-or-lose-it ARRA highway funding, and sensibly chose to cut back to some extent on their regular Trust Fund spending in 2010 and to a lesser extent in 2011 so they could concentrate on spending as much of their stimulus money as possible.

(If anyone knows why there was that weird spike in outlays in November 2015 – was it some kind of account shift, or was it real money – please let us know.) (Aug. 22 update: FHWA informs us that the huge spike in outlays in November 2015 that causes that big spike in the brown FY16 line is because FHWA was upgrading the computer systems that do its accounting during October 2015 and taking them off-line while they did so. For several weeks in October, states did not get any repayments at all, so November 2015 had all of its own regular outlays plus most of the October outlays as well.)

Share

Related Articles

House Republicans Tout Infrastructure Funding They Voted Against

House Republicans Tout Infrastructure Funding They Voted Against

"You can see why the Obama administration insisted on signage" for projects funded by the American Recovery Act, Jeff Davis, a senior...

New Navigation Projects Will Receive $3.4 Billion of Initial IIJA Port and Waterways Allocations

New Navigation Projects Will Receive $3.4 Billion of Initial IIJA Port and Waterways Allocations

The White House this week announced that $10.5 billion of the funding for the Army Corps of Engineers water resources program from the...

FY22 Appropriations Endgame Talks Commence, With February Deadline Looming

FY22 Appropriations Endgame Talks Commence, With February Deadline Looming

The bipartisan leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees held a meeting  yesterday to begin discussions of how to resolve...

No Progress on FY22 Fiscal Issues, March 1 Looms As New Deadline

No Progress on FY22 Fiscal Issues, March 1 Looms As New Deadline

The Second Session of the 117th Congress has begun, and the opening months will be devoted to trying and finish the leftover business of...

USDOT Budget for FY 2022 Should Top $140 Billion

USDOT Budget for FY 2022 Should Top $140 Billion

With the influx of extra funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, total funding for the U.S. Department of Transportation...

Manchin Says He Won't Support Reconciliation Bill, Leaving Democrats in Limbo

Manchin Says He Won't Support Reconciliation Bill, Leaving Democrats in Limbo

Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) made headlines yesterday when he very publicly withdrew his support from the pending budget reconciliation bill,...

Senate Action on Budget Reconciliation Bill Slips to January as Congress Prepares to Adjourn for the Year

Senate Action on Budget Reconciliation Bill Slips to January as Congress Prepares to Adjourn for the Year

The U.S. Senate will be postponing floor consideration of the multi-trillion-dollar budget reconciliation bill until January 2022 at the...

EPW Panel Releases Revised Text of Its Budget Reconciliation Title

EPW Panel Releases Revised Text of Its Budget Reconciliation Title

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee today released its title of the "Build Back Better" budget reconciliation bill today, the...

Putting Climate into the Infrastructure Law

Putting Climate into the Infrastructure Law

Its single biggest investment category, however, is roads and bridges. Jeff Davis of the Eno Center for Transportation broke this...

FHWA Apportions $52.5 Billion in IIJA Highway Contract Authority to State DOTs

FHWA Apportions $52.5 Billion in IIJA Highway Contract Authority to State DOTs

Yesterday, the Federal Highway Administration formally gave state DOTs $52.5 billion in highway contract authority as the first annual...

Budget Reconciliation Bill Still Stuck in

Budget Reconciliation Bill Still Stuck in "Byrd Bath" Process

Senate staffers hope to begin the "Byrd bath" process for the budget reconciliation bill next week – a quasi-judicial proceeding whereby...

Appropriations Stopgap Extended to Feb. 18, Delaying Some Infrastructure Funding Increases

Appropriations Stopgap Extended to Feb. 18, Delaying Some Infrastructure Funding Increases

Good news: the government shutdown that was possibly to have started tonight has been averted, thanks to legislation passed by Congress...

Be Part of the Conversation
Sign up to receive news, events, publications, and course notifications.
No thanks