Highway Funding Bill Stalled; Cuts to Start in August
Both Democrats and Republicans are rallying their efforts to make sure that highway projects currently underway don't become stalled, as funds could be redirected into other projects. This week, the House and Ways Committee will vote on a bill that will redirect around $10.7 billion back to the highway trust fund. This would mean budgeting and maneuvering money around to make sure current projects are kept on track through May. Some adjustments would include pension contributions, the extension of custom fee collection for one year, and use $1 billion of the fund to clean up leaky underground storage tanks. Currently, the highway trust fund pays for repairs and other construction on our roads, which comes from gasoline tax. Unfortunately, the projected highway spending far exceeds the tax revenue. In 2014 alone, the trust is expected to spend $45 billion, surpassing the budget by $12 billion. If left alone, funds sent to states undergoing construction will start to be cut next month and will continue for the foreseeable future. Added to that, this could be devastating to the economy, causing layoffs for the workers, and issues with the roads left incomplete. Some solutions that have been proposed are higher gas taxes, overhaul the tax code, allow states to have the power to pay for their projects, and more. However, short-term measures may have unforeseen consequences. Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, said in a recent interview that, "They aren't really replenishing the highway trust fund in a way that's needed, which is billions of dollars, because America has become one big pothole." We expect to see this become a long, drawn-out process, as both political parties are up in arms as to what is the best direction to take. August will come far too soon. Source: Wall Street Journal
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