The Federal Highway Trust Fund, which provides the funds used to build and maintain many highways and bridges in the US, is projected to run dry in August, causing politicians in Washington to rush to find a way to keep the fund afloat before leaving for their August recess.
While some lawmakers have suggested plowing new and higher taxes into the trust fund to make it whole, ATR’s Mattie Duppler sat down with PBS Newshour to discuss why more revenue can’t keep the fund from going bankrupt. She highlighted the importance of not just spending money on infrastructure, but spending it wisely. And she’s right: For example, according to Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute, inflation and improved fuel efficiency aren’t the culprits that have reduced the HTF to nearly nothing. To see what really ran the fund dry, you need only look at federal highway and transit spending in the last approximately four decades. Highway spending has doubled in the last twenty years, and an increasing number of non-highway projects – such as mass transit, bike paths and landscaping efforts – have been getting a bigger part of the pie. You can read more of ATR’s thoughts on this looming catastrophe here.