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When the trust fund goes bust: Report shows how much your states and city will lose

Unless Congress adds new revenue to the nation’s transportation trust fund, the federal government will be unable to commit to funding any new transportation projects, depriving states and localities of resources critical to maintaining and improving the infrastructure that makes our economy possible.

Photo via WSDOT/Flickr httpswww.flickr.com/photos/wsdot/8670279118

The idea of getting any new projects underway in FY 2015 (like this ongoing project in Washington State) could be history without a fix for the trust fund.

America is at a crucial decision point for transportation. The nation’s transportation trust fund is facing a crisis. The gasoline tax that has sustained the federal transportation program since the middle of the last century is no longer keeping up with investment needs.

Transportation for America has released a new report that shows the tangible financial impact that the trust fund’s expected insolvency would have on state and local transportation budgets beginning in the upcoming fiscal year.

But there is a ray of light: The crisis presents an opportunity, because it comes at the same time as Congress must update the federal transportation program, MAP-21. Last week we released a policy road map showing how we can resuscitate and reinvigorate the program in exciting ways, so that it better suits the needs of people in the communities where they live. Absent such action, though, the bottom line is a bleak one: Starting this fall, every dollar of gas tax revenue collected will be needed to cover the federal share of projects already promised to states, regions, and transit agencies, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

That means new transportation projects with a federal share will be shelved — perhaps indefinitely — starting as soon as this summer.

The End of the Road? The looming fiscal disaster for transportation covers the crisis in detail, complete with tables of the exact amounts states and urban areas stand to lose, and the share of state transport budgets that federal funding represents.

While every state raises their own transportation funds through some taxing mechanism and local governments contribute their own funds, federal funds account for the lion’s share of many major projects in the country, from a key bridge replacement or highway rehab to new rail cars and buses. Federal dollars account for half or more of the transportation capital budget in all but 15 states, and for many the share is two-thirds or more. (It’s more than 90 percent in Alaska and Rhode Island, for example.) Metro regions like Miami, Seattle, Atlanta, Denver, Dallas, Philadelphia, Minneapolis-St. Paul – to name just a few – could be out $100 million or more.

We’ll be featuring some of the key projects that could be shelved and states that are scaling back their transportation plans throughout the course of today and tomorrow. There are surely hundreds if not thousands of affected projects all across the country.


Fiscal Cliff Promo Graphic

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1 Comment

  1. David Dunlap

    4 years ago

    I support all your efforts to improve every aspect of our bridges and roadways. Let’s put the taxes we pay to good use, not guns and ammo.