President Barack Obama on Friday signed a bill providing nearly $11 billion in temporary funding for highway and transit programs, and infrastructure funding. Congress approved the legislation a week earlier. The measure keeps the Highway Trust Fund solvent through May.
The Highway Trust Fund is used to pay for highway upgrades and repairs, but receipts from motor fuel taxes have not kept pace with scheduled construction projects because people are driving less and using more efficient vehicles. Fuel taxes have not been adjusted since 1993.
The Department of Transportation has rescinded plans to dial back reimbursements to states for construction as a result of the legislative patch. Transportation advocates are now gearing up to win passage of a multi-year surface transportation reauthorization bill that includes some kind of revenue solution to augment the HTF and put it on a sustainable path so Congress doesn't have to continue to undertake budgeting maneuvers to keep the transportation system funded.
The temporary funding law is paid for by raising customs fees, taking money from another trust fund, and adjusting pension rules so companies pay more in taxes now than in the future.