Tuesday, August 18 2015 @ 11:20 PM UTC
Contributed by: B' Spokes
The new report comes with just a month left before expiration of the federal transportation act, and with the federal Highway Trust Fund on the brink of insolvency. Revenues from gas taxes and other user fees this year are expected to come up $16 billion short of the level needed to maintain current federal transportation spending, leading to the need for urgent congressional action.
“Congress is stuck in an endless loop,” said Phineas Baxandall, Senior Analyst at U.S. PIRG and coauthor of the report. “Either Congress will have to raise gas taxes to the high levels that would be needed to fully pay for the costs of highways or it will have to admit that the ‘users pay’ system no longer exists and needs to be reformed.”
“Congress faces important choices about transportation,” Baxandall continued. “Playing make believe about where our transportation dollars come from shouldn’t be an option.”
General taxpayers at all levels of government now subsidize highway construction and maintenance to the tune of $69 billion per year – an amount exceeding the expenditure of general tax funds to support transit, bicycling, walking and passenger rail combined.
Regardless of how much they drive, the average American household bears an annual financial burden of more than $1,100 in taxes and indirect costs from driving – over and above any gas taxes or other fees they pay that are connected with driving.