ROADS/BRIDGES: Plans are to cut federal funding for highways, bridges

Budget framework calls for a spending reduction; HTF may not cover 2015 bills

May 05, 2015

Congress has said you can forget about a gas-tax increase. Now, there is talk out of Washington that an increase of any kind is unlikely for the transportation sector.

The House and Senate Republicans agreed to a budget framework that would reduce highway and transit funding by 22%, which translates to about $12 billion in spending cuts.

The budget can be reworked, and often always is, but the message that is being sent is the federal government wants to spend less on infrastructure. A long-term highway bill still is being discussed, but annual funding levels could be reduced.

Congressional Budget Office analyst Sarah Puro announced last week that current receipts in the Highway Trust Fund may not cover all of the money obligated for construction projects in 2015. It may require a $16 billion cut next year to cover the cost.

Meanwhile, a group of Senators have introduced another piece of legislation which might help transportation funding moving forward. The “Move America Act of 2015,” sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) would expand the availability of tax-exempt bonds and create a new tax credit for state and local governments who are in need of large construction projects.