EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

World/National News

February 27, 2014

Obama seeking $300 billion for roads, railways

(Continued)

Obama stressed the job-creating power of federal transportation projects. As part of his promise to take action where Congress won’t, he also announced a $600 million competition for federal grants to help local governments pay for infrastructure projects.

The primary sources of revenue for the Highway Trust Fund are the federal 18.4 cent-per-gallon gasoline and 24.4 cent-per-gallon diesel taxes, which haven’t been increased in 20 years. While highway construction costs have risen over the decades, revenue going into fund has declined. Among the reasons for the decline are that vehicles are getting more miles per gallon and people are driving less on a per capita basis.

The fund experienced its first shortfall in 2008. Since then, Congress has shifted tens of billions of dollars from the general treasury to make up continuing shortfalls. Some of the transfers have been paid for through spending cuts or tax increases elsewhere in the federal budget, while others have not.

Earlier this month, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the trust fund again will not have enough money to meet its obligations to states by the end of the federal budget year on Sept. 30.

Even if Congress transfers enough money into the fund to keep transportation aid flowing, it’s generally acknowledged that current spending levels are insufficient to keep up with repair and replacement of the nation’s aging infrastructure. Three blue-ribbon commissions have called for raising the gasoline tax and indexing it to inflation. But congressional leaders and the White House have shied away from a fuel tax increase, considered a politically dangerous move.

Kathleen Bower, AAA vice president of public affairs, called a gas tax increase “the most viable, responsible and effective near-term solution” for keeping the trust fund solvent.

The association will continue to discuss long-term funding remedies, such as corporate tax reform or other fixes, Bower said, but added that “immediate action is necessary” on a short-term funding solution for the transportation system.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
World/National News

Latest U.S. News
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve 3 People Killed, Deputies Wounded in NC Shootout Suing Obama: GOP-led House Gives the Go-ahead Obama: 'Blood of Africa Runs Through My Veins' Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Air Force: Stowaway Triggers Security Review Minnesota Fire Engulfs Home, Two Garages Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Officials Unsure of UCLA Flood Repair Date At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii
Latest World News
Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Raw: Smoke, Explosions Fill Gaza Skyline Today in History for July 31st Raw: 16 Killed in Gaza Market Strike Raw: Guinea Rap Concert Stampede Kills 33+ Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Graphic Video: 15 Killed at Gaza UN School Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Floodwaters Ravage Villages in Romania Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Today in History for July 30th Raw: Aftermath, Artillery Shells Hit Donetsk Muslims Celebrate Eid El-Fitr Around the World Gaza Official: at Least 100 Killed Tuesday Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism
Photos of the Week