While America’s infrastructure needs continue to grow, our nation’s federal funding source for transportation, the Highway Trust Fund, has seen its revenues steadily depleted.
The motor fuels tax is the primary revenue stream feeding the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). Every time you fill your car’s gas tank, 18.4 cents per gallon goes toward paying into that fund to contribute to maintaining the roads and bridges you drive. Similarly, trucks pay 24.4 cents per gallon for diesel. The federal highway tax rates have not changed since 1993—over 25 years.
To put this in perspective, a loaf of bread cost 75 cents in 1993, while today it costs $2.50. Similarly a car cost $12,750 in 1993, and is more than double today at an average $33,650.
Because the U.S. doesn’t have a long-term funding solution, the current forecast from the Congressional Budget Office shows that the the Highway Trust Fund will run a $12.5 billion deficit in fiscal year 2019, rising steadily to $24.4 billion in FY 2029.
U.S. Department of Transportation projects that the cumulative shortfall, under the current 10-year window, in the HTF highway and mass transit accounts will be over $170 billion.