The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently released its latest estimate of Highway Trust Fund receipts. The report projects revenue of $1.7 billion more into the highway account of the Highway Trust Fund than was estimated earlier this year when OMB projected that receipts would fall short by $2.3 billion of the funding levels set in SAFETEA-LU.
The new estimate still reports that incoming revenue will not fund the SAFETEA-LU levels, but the short fall now is projected to be $600 million by the end of fiscal year 2009 when SAFETEA-LU expires.
The report projects that the transit accounts of the Highway Trust Fund will be $200 million less than what was projected earlier this year. The disparity exists because the various sources of Highway Trust Fund revenue are not credited equally to the two accounts. There has been a spike in receipts of commercial truck related taxes that are credited to the highway account only. Motor fuels tax receipts are credited on an 80%/20% basis to the two different accounts.
The OMB is required to revise these projections every six months based on a variety of information, sources and assumptions. While the current projection is better than originally shown, it nevertheless points out the tenuous nature of Highway Trust Fund receipts and points out the need for increased revenue.