Wednesday, September 24, 2008

That other bailout

Congress this month bailed out the Federal Highway Trust Fund to the tune of $8 billion, putting a lot of road projects back on track. The funds were transferred from FHWA's administrative accounts to the Trust Fund.

The Bush administration opposed the rescue before it supported it.

From the Puget Sound Business Journal:

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters praised Congress for acting quickly "to protect states from the pain of a funding shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund."

But, she added, "the fundamental funding flaws that plague the nation's transportation system will continue to wreak havoc if left unfixed."

Bruce Josten, executive vice president of government affairs for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, agreed, calling the transfer of funds a "short-term fix."

"Congress must develop a long-term solution when reauthorizing the surface transportation law next year," Josten said. "Every funding option must be on the table."

Federal gasoline taxes currently provide revenue for the fund. Gas tax receipts fell in recent months as Americans curtailed their driving in response to high prices at the pump.

So $700 billion or more for financial institutions and increased taxes, in one way or another, for highways. Something to look forward to.

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