HIGHWAY TRUST FUND: Senate explores options for HTF fix

Ideas range from implementing new fees to limiting spending to trust-fund revenues

Funding News AGC of America April 26, 2013
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On April 25, the Senate Finance Committee released the fourth of six tax-reform option papers. This latest document outlines ideas regarding “Infrastructure, Energy, and Natural Resources.” Included in the paper is a discussion of the status of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) and a variety of options that could be considered to remedy the situation. Listed below are items highlighted in the document:

 

Potential broad principles for reform include:

  • Generate sufficient resources to support federal transportation policy on a sustainable basis;
  • Ensure that users and direct beneficiaries of infrastructure systems bear the cost of their use; and
  • Promote economic efficiency by maximizing benefits relative to costs for any projects with federal involvement.

 

Some specific concerns about infrastructure funding include the following:

  • Mismatch between amounts authorized and trust-fund revenues;
  • Deterioration of the user-fee model;
  • Declining revenue from existing sources;
  • Inadequate funding to meet additional needs; and
  • Uncertainty created by temporary extensions.

 

Options proposed and explored by the committee consist of the following areas:

  • Limit infrastructure spending to trust-fund revenues;
  • Devolve federal revenues to states;
  • Maintain the user-fee model but increase existing taxes and fees;
  • Establish new user fees and taxes to replace or supplement current user-fee system;
  • Designate other sources of revenue for the HTF; and
  • Provide additional financing options for states.

 

 

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